A Gift for all Moms and Dads

pastel portrait of long-haired black cat

A Mother’s Day gift: Hobbes, pastel, 12″ x 15″, 2004 © B.E. Kazmarski

Did your parents pass on to you a love of animals? Did they decide one day you needed an animal companion of your own, starting you on a lifelong path of sharing your days with cats and dogs and birds and bunnies and ferrets and any other animal that came along?

watercolor of tulips

Veronica’s Tulips, watercolor, 16″ x 23″, 2008 © B.E. Kazmarski

Thank those people who gave you this gift—and I’m loosely defining mother and father because sometimes the person who shared their love of animals with you was an aunt or uncle or grandparent, or even a neighbor who rescued cats or dogs. In everyone’s life is at least one special person who shared a love of animals, and in that person’s life there is often an animal companion who is or was very special to them. Read about Shadow, Casey and Ralph and a special Mother’s Day gift from 2006.

And thinking a little less conventionally, consider a piece of custom art that also includes an animal. For “Veronica’s Tulips”, right, this pet mom got the painting for herself, and wanted both flowers and, after a lifetime of rescued Schnauzers also wanted a Schnauzer in her painting, though not to represent any individual she had lived with. This was the very natural solution.

I’m offering 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or a commissioned portrait that is booked between now and Mother’s Day—and Father’s Day as well. Portraits take up to four weeks, especially with framing and then shipping, but we can work things out with certificates and portraits that are done some time in the next two months.

About Commissioned Portrait Gift Certificates

sample portrait certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

Mother’s Day Discounts in my Etsy Shop

Use MOTHERSPORTRAIT10 to receive 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait (we will discuss the portrait and I will give you an estimate).

Use MOTHERSDAY10 to receive 10% off the purchase of Mother’s Day gifts, which may include a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait.

sketch of man holding black and white cat

Fred and Simba © B.E. Kazmarski

Father’s Day Discounts in my Etsy Shop

Think guys aren’t cat daddies? I’ll be telling more about Fred and Simba, at left, in a few weeks, but trust me they aren’t the only cat and guy combinations around.

Use FATHERSPORTRAIT10 to receive 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait (we will discuss the portrait and I will give you an estimate).

Use FATHERSDAY10 to receive 10% off the purchase of Mother’s Day gifts, which may include a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait.

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Purchase a gift certificate for a commissioned portrait.

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.

Commissioned Cat Portraitsportrait of black cat in wicker chair Commissioned Dog Portraitspastel portrait of dogs

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


A Very Special Mother’s Day in 2006

watercolor portrait of dog and two cats

Shadow, Casey and Ralph, watercolor, 12" x 16", 2006 © B.E. Kazmarski

Several years ago, a couple who had each had me paint portraits of their cats Dusty and DeVille as gifts for each other decided they wanted to give her mother a portrait of her mother’s dog and two cats as a Mother’s Day gift. They all shared the same love for their animal companions, and Shadow, the dog, was growing older. All the animals were rescues, adopted from shelters.

detail of portrait

Shadow's face; Shadow was black with a lot of mahogany in his fur.

The two went about sneaking photographs from her mother and mailing them to me. The very first portrait I had done for them was a watercolor of his cat Dusty and the second a pastel of her cat DeVille, but for this portrait they chose watercolor.

detail of orange cat's face

Casey's face, clear stripes and yellow eyes.

Most of my portraits are pastel but I enjoy the break when I the commission is a different medium. I looked forward to it, studying the photos and visualizing the colors and the brushes I’d use for fur and stripes and animal eyes and noses, seeing the brush strokes on the watercolor paper.

detail of portrait

Ralph, deep orange and white, and a little timid.

They gave her the portrait in my studio

When portraits are gifts, I am rarely present for the giving but in this case they decided to present it here because they wanted her mother to meet me. She actually had no idea why she was coming to this stranger’s house, just appreciating the day out with her daughter and son-in-law.

I had the framed portrait on my easel in the corner covered with a silk scarf I keep for the occasion. This was several years ago and I now work upstairs, but I have always kept an easel in the corner of my “office” downstairs, the room intended to be a living room into which you enter, for presentation and display of current work. At the right time of day you can see right into the room so I’ve always been careful when people were coming to visit their portraits that they couldn’t see them before they even came into my house.

pastel portrait of tabby and white cat

DeVille, pastel, 10" x 12", 2005 © B.E. Kazmarski

They introduced me and my household of cats, and we talked about our pets while we had snacks and iced tea. Then I slipped into the kitchen and they took over, leading their mother to the easel and letting her know the purpose of the visit, pulling the scarf off the portrait so she could see Shadow, Casey and Ralph. I re-entered the room; it was a wonderful moment to share with the three of them.

They were sure her mother would love a portrait of her companions, and I knew if her mother was anything like the couple I had gotten to know there was no better Mother’s Day gift—not only recognizing and sharing her mother’s love for her pets, but also the gift the daughter had obviously inherited from her mother, a loving and generous heart and compassion for people and animals.

detail of portrait

Detail of DeVille.

A Mother’s Day Special, and Father’s Day too

Did your parents pass on to you a love of animals? Did they decide one day you needed an animal companion of your own, starting you on a lifelong path of sharing your days with cats and dogs and birds and bunnies and ferrets and any other animal that came along?

Thank those people who gave you this gift—and I’m loosely defining mother and father because sometimes the person who shared their love of animals with you was an aunt or uncle or grandparent, or even a neighbor who rescued cats or dogs. In everyone’s life is at least one special person who shared a love of animals, and in that person’s life there is often an animal companion who is or was very special to them.

I’m offering 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or a commissioned portrait that is booked between now and Mother’s Day—and Father’s Day as well. Portraits take up to four weeks, especially with framing and then shipping, but we can work things out with certificates and portraits that are done some time in the next two months.

About Commissioned Portrait Gift Certificates

sample portrait certificate

Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

Mother’s Day Discounts in my Etsy Shop

Use MOTHERSPORTRAIT10 to receive 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait (we will discuss the portrait and I will give you an estimate).

Use MOTHERSDAY10 to receive 10% off the purchase of Mother’s Day gifts, which may include a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait.

Father’s Day Discounts in my Etsy Shop

Use FATHERSPORTRAIT10 to receive 10% off the purchase of a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait (we will discuss the portrait and I will give you an estimate).

Use FATHERSDAY10 to receive 10% off the purchase of Mother’s Day gifts, which may include a portrait certificate or of the cost of a commissioned portrait.

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Purchase a gift certificate for a commissioned portrait.

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.

Commissioned Cat Portraitsportrait of black cat in wicker chair Commissioned Dog Portraitspastel portrait of dogs

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Kitties and Curtains and Watercolors

painting of two cats on windowsill with sheer curtain

Buster and Kitty, watercolor, 4" x 5", 1995 © B.E. Kazmarski

Back when I was just beginning in animal portraiture a friend and fellow cat rescuer showed me photos of her cats, Buster and Kitty, and offered me prints in case I’d ever like to create paintings from any of them. Though I have difficulty just keeping up with my own household I won’t turn down photos of any cats, especially those in her lovely Victorian-themed apartment.

“Cats looking out windows” has always been a favorite theme of mine. Add the delicacy of sheer ruffled curtains and I’m totally hooked. It’s the whole scene I love, the moment, even the silly one of just seeing butts and tails on the windowsill and shadowed silhouettes through the curtain. Those memories are special, and even if we’re looking at others’ cats they still call to mind our own cats at the same moments.

I knew her cats and her apartment as she knew my cats and my home. We worked together and were also cat sitters for each other, and while my visit to her house was fairly simple with her two and then three cats, I had nine cats for her to feed and pet and entertain in my house.

She and her husband purchased a home and as I pondered what would be an appropriate housewarming gift for a friend I remembered the photos, especially those two of the kitties on the windowsills. I’d do a portrait! I remembered how she had loved the traditional features of that apartment, the oak parquet floors, big rooms and high ceilings, that wide traditional molding on the windows darkened with age. And of course she loved her cats, so the combination of the two was sure to be a winner.

But which photo? The photo with both cats didn’t show their faces, and while I do like unconventional poses and scenes for portraits I didn’t feel that was enough. The other was a typical posture for Buster with his legs stretched out and “looking at his toes”, and while I pondered how to fit Kitty in there from other photos I decided I’d rather not.

I’d do them both. Just two little paintings. That solved it.

painting of black and white cat on windowsill

Buster Lookin' at His Toes, watercolor, 4" x 5", 1995 © B.E. Kazmarski

I loved the sheer curtain and the traditional wooden windowsill, but rather than my usual pastel, I had been visualizing them in watercolor all along. I was pretty new to watercolor then, just about two years into it and not too many paintings yet, but I’d been studying quite a bit of other artists’ work. I could picture how I’d render the harder shadows and highlights on the wood, and knew it would carry the gauzy shadows on the curtain. The soft shadows on the walls would be a challenge, but the cats would be a joy—meeting my favorite subject in a different medium for once, like sharing a new experience with a friend.

They are matted and framed individually, but with the same mats and frames. Unlike most other portraits I feature, you are seeing these at about the actual size they were painted.

About the kitties

Kitty was a rather large and imperious long-haired black kitty they’d adopted from a shelter, and oh how I wanted a long-haired black kitty after meeting him! My black kitty Kublai was the love of my life, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t have a crush on another, even with Kitty’s, well, cattitude. He was okay, he never swatted me—but then I’d been well-trained by Sally, my white long-haired kitty, in the fine art of knowing when “happy happy purr purr” turned into “I’m totally done with this right now.”

Buster was but one kitten from many litters born to a cat in a trailer park who simply was never spayed. The fact that a neighbor was setting out antifreeze for them to drink neither inspired the cat’s owner to get the cat fixed nor to keep them all indoors and safe. Buster’s mom and dad had recently lost a kitten they’d adopted to feline leukemia, and Buster’s dad, wanting to save at least one kitten from death by antifreeze and help ease the grief of the loss, chose one tiny black and white kitten to take home. At first, he was ordered to take the kitten back, the loss was too soon, but within hours, reconsidering the possible fate of the little guy, Buster’s mom told him to go back and get him.

And Buster is also the January kitty in my Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book. I hadn’t seen his mom for years when I began the book and wanted to use his portrait, then realized my photos from that era weren’t up to print quality and I’d have to rephotograph it. I had the chance to look her up and visit again (and, yes, I do have that photo of Buster and Ginger, they are on the list!).

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Purchase a gift certificate for a commissioned portrait.

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat in wicker chair

Commissioned Dog Portraits

pastel portrait of dogs

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Daily Sketch: Resting, Spring Afternoon

two cats in watercolor

Resting, Spring Afternoon, watercolor pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Hmmm, testing some new/old watercolor pencils found in a box of stuff, not sure but they might be ready to retire. These weren’t quite the colors I was expecting, some blended nicely, others ended up with a lot of scribbling.

Nice composition, though, always nice when Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine settle together to look out the window and watch the birds on a spring afternoon.

Maybe I like it in black and white. This way you can see the underlying sketch, the tones intended to create the shapes, and the overall composition.

grayscale version of two cats

Same as above, converted to grayscale in PhotoShop.

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Click here to see other daily sketches.

For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

Read about the reason for the daily sketches in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches.

And read about purchasing them and requesting them as a donation item for your shelter or rescue group in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches for Sale and Donation.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Daily Sketch: Apple-colored Cuddle

two cats cuddling in red and green watercolor

Apple-colored Cuddle, watercolor pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Well, I have a lot of sketches of cuddles, I have to come up with some new names and apples are red and green, most of the time. In this case, it’s Jelly Bean and Giuseppe, who cuddle after they wrestle, especially on a dark and rainy day when I have all the lights on at my desk.

But I’m decidedly disappointed in the new set of watercolor pencils. They are just not as deep and brilliant as the partial set I first experimented with in Colorful Cuddling Kitties and Colorful Kelly. Now that’s color!

I’m sure I’ll be able to use a more pastel set of watercolor pencils at some point, but I may need to move on.

Nevertheless, the boys are sweet, no matter what colors I use.

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Click here to see other daily sketches.

For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

Read about the reason for the daily sketches in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches.

And read about purchasing them and requesting them as a donation item for your shelter or rescue group in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches for Sale and Donation.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Daily Sketch: Mewsette Stretching

watercolor of cat stretching

Mewsette Stretching, watercolor pencil with washes © B.E. Kazmarski

Don’t worry, she’s just stretching!

Poor Mewsette; I got a start on this but since the walking stretch is a fleeting thing we had to “pretend” she was doing this a few extra times for me to get the placements of paws and such.

Sketched in red watercolor pencil for Mewsette, shadowed and highlighted in purple and green. I bought a new set of watercolor pencils, will have to keep experimenting. These don’t seem to be as soluble as the set I was using, though it was missing many colors.

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Click here to see other daily sketches.

For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

Read about the reason for the daily sketches in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches.

And read about purchasing them and requesting them as a donation item for your shelter or rescue group in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches for Sale and Donation.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Daily Sketch: Colorful Kelly

watercolor of cat

Colorful Kelly, watercolor pencils © B.E. Kazmarski

So pretend the blue is black, as I discovered the set does not have a black pencil, but here is tortie Kelly sleeping on my desk. I don’t mind the blue because it’s a complement of orange, the other tortie color, even though the orange here looks like a dark red. But as long as she has the round green eyes and the big rounded ears, she’s my Kelly, and it’s a bonus that she has the little hind paw with the toes spread and the front paw curled so she can bathe it.

This is watercolor pencil again, more fun each time…if only my scanner had a better eye for blue.

The next morning…

I was unhappy with the colors in this—the blue was too purple and the orange was just too dark, no one was really seeing what I was seeing so as soon as the sun was bright enough I too the little painting outside to photograph in natural daylight. Compare for yourself and see if you can find the differences.

watercolor of tortoiseshell cat

Colorful Kelly (same painting, photographed instead of scanned), watercolor pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Watercolor is difficult because it’s transparent and when scanning, and even photographing, the light shines through it to the nearest opaque surface, which is the paper. Everything from ambient light in the room to anything else that’s in the shot or in the scan can influence the color balance.

And even with this, the sunlight was still too “warm” that early and the whites were a little shadowed; I could photograph it again later this afternoon and it would be different again.

Yikes! Sometimes I spend more time trying to get a good image of my little sketches than I spend actually creating them, but it’s all worth it. Colorful Kelly was very much worth all the effort since she was popular no matter the color balance, and I can see a lot of potential for her!

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Click here to see other daily sketches.

For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

Read about the reason for the daily sketches in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches.

And read about purchasing them and requesting them as a donation item for your shelter or rescue group in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches for Sale and Donation.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Daily Sketch: Colorful Cuddling Kitties

colored pencil sketch of three cats sleeping

Colorful Cuddling Kitties, watercolor pencil (before the water) © B.E. Kazmarski

Giuseppe at the top, Bean, left and Mimi, right, the three are cuddled on a fleece bed.

I finally found my watercolor pencils, or colored pencils with leads made of compressed watercolor; could not purchase another set while there was still one in the house, a very old one from some donated art supplies or an estate sale.

So it’s really easy to sketch cats while they are sleeping because they aren’t moving too much—though you’d be surprised how much they actually do move. I used as many colors as I could just to try them all, each cat a different color and different outline, the bed (which is actually like a cerise, light yellow-green, but didn’t scan that way). One thing I learned, looking at the right side of the drawing, is that the “lead” isn’t as hard as regular colored pencil and actually smeared when I moved it around a little bit on the platen to scan it.

Anyway, take a good look at “Colorful Cuddling Kitties” above because that’s the only version you’ll see that looks like that. I got my brushes and some water and painted it over the pencil lines, seen below.

watercolor of three cats sleeping

Colorful Cuddling Kitties, watercolor pencil with washes © B.E. Kazmarski

Cool! The pencil works up right away, except for the purple, who knows why, but I like how it held the outlines where I used it. Colors are nice and bright and this could be more convenient to carry “into the field” than a little tray of watercolors; I can either do the sketch and bring it home to finish if I’m not carrying usable water or brushes with me, or I can use it right there. Much easier to use on the little 5″ x 7″ watercolor pad I carry too.

I can do that around the house too. Think I’ll play around with it this week.

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Click here to see other daily sketches.

For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

Read about the reason for the daily sketches in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches.

And read about purchasing them and requesting them as a donation item for your shelter or rescue group in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches for Sale and Donation.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


From the Lost Sketchbook, Sketches I Actually Used

pencil drawing of striped cat

Stanley's Stripes, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

Here is one of my favorites, “Stripes”, because those are his “racing stripes” down the back of his head; it’s my Stanley sleeping on a little bolster filled with buckwheat intended for me to use as a neck pillow. I think he liked the sound it made when he curled up on it and he practically glowed with contentment as he settled for his post-breakfast nap. I sketched this in one of his last three years of life when he slept long and deep, sometimes relaxing so much that he’d slide off the furniture. He was always vital, though, and a real character who I’ll never forget. I knew I’d frame this image for display at least and sell it as a print, and I also had it printed as a notecard, notepaper and memo pad in the “Feline Sketches” set. He’s a favorite as both a general purpose greeting cat and as a sympathy cat as some people have chosen this card to use for an animal sympathy card.

pencil sketch of a cat in a box

In the Box, pencil sketch © B.E.Kazmarski

And my other favorite from around the same time, “In the Box”, my Sophie, having stuffed herself into a box too small for her size, uses it as an observation point to watch out the door. Sophie was a little larger than average and had lots of fur, but she thought she was just a small cat. If I’m trying to accomplish something on my desk that I don’t necessarily want kitties walking across or through or knocking over or sitting on, I grab a handy box or two or more and set them near me. As if a magnet had pulled them there, each box I’ve set out will immediately have a cat in it. They tire of them, though and I’ll usually put them away. I don’t know how many months Sophie used this box, but it was falling apart by the time she finally tired of it and I recycled it. I knew I’d frame this image also and sell it as a print, and I also had it printed as a notecard, notepaper and memo pad in the “Feline Sketches” set.

pencil and watercolor sketch of a cat sleeping

Peaches Nap Spot, pencil and watercolor © B.E. Kazmarski

And this pencil sketch of Peaches with watercolor washes, “Peaches’ Nap Spot”, is the other that’s been framed, sold as a print and made into notecards. Dear little old Peaches in her pastel beauty, I just love how she sleeps in a circle. I’ll never know what is so inspiring about her, but I’m so glad she entered my life, even at the grand old age of 15. She’s still going strong four years later, and is the subject of many a sketch, painting and photo.

This is probably why the sketchbook was “lost”—I scanned or photographed several works in it and framed them, so it ended up in a cubbyhole in my upstairs workroom/studio instead of returning to my downstairs office/studio. Until I recently cleaned out and reorganized things upstairs, this was in a “safe” place. Don’t get the idea that my house is really big with all these upstairs and downstairs studios—it’s 15 ft. x 22 ft., and every room is involved in all I do! That includes the kitchen and bathroom, since that’s where I print items sometimes, dye fabrics, wash my brushes and even hang artwork for inspection sometimes. That’s why the sketchbook accidentally got “lost”, space is so tight that when I tucked it away I literally had to take apart a shelf for books and art supplies to see it in the stack.


Heal Your Heart: Coping With the Loss of a Pet

Heal Your Heart: Coping With the Loss of a Pet

Heal Your Heart: Coping With the Loss of a Pet

After the loss of so many cats it’s healing now to be a part of a loving and sincere effort on the part of someone who is a licensed counselor and has prepared a recording and book of inspirational readings and information and affirmations for those who have also lost a pet. I had the opportunity to illustrate this wonderful recording, and to assist the author in publicizing and promoting it.

Ironically enough, I began the project just as I knew I would soon lose my Namir after four years of working with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and congestive heart failure (CHF). I can attest to the CD’s effectiveness. His loss followed the loss of five others a few years before.

Back cover background of Heal Your Heart CD

Back cover background of Heal Your Heart CD

That loss, and illustrating this CD, also led me to embark on a new offering in animal-inspired art and products: animal sympathy cards. I used the background art for the back of the CD as the background for one of my cards, and also used a number of my feline photographs.

Read about the CD and its author, Karen Litzinger, below. I’ll also be posting a e-mail newsletter she published this month, and I encourage people who love animals to visit her site and sign up for her newsletter.

Animal Lovers Comforted by New Pet Loss CD

Our animal companions have become more respected members of our society in recent years. From recognizing that people will not evacuate even a life-threatening situation if they can’t take their animals to realizing that a close bond with an animal can help people heal from both physical and emotional traumas, we’ve come to accept animals not simply as possessions but as friends or even members of our families.

A Rainbow and Row of Hearts

A Rainbow and Row of Hearts

Heal Your Heart: Coping with the Loss of a Pet by Karen Litzinger , MA, LPC, is a newly available CD and booklet combination which helps to guide the pet owner through the process of grieving their lost pet. The CD includes Litzinger, a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Bereavement Facilitator, reading comforting messages, pet-focused affirmations, and even a guided meditation along with comforting accompanying harp music. The booklet provides supportive suggestions, information explaining the stages of grief and resources such as books and hotlines to assist the grieving person.

Litzinger’s product is unique in pet loss support offerings. Many books have been written on the subject of pet loss, but few are published in audio form. And while other recorded products offer support in the form of affirmations to carry away or a guided meditation for grieving, Heal Your Heart is focused on the loss of a pet, which is unique in materials offering assistance with grief.

Cat Paw

Cat Paw Illustration

Heal Your Heart is one of only a handful of audiobooks in the pet loss publishing market,” states Lorri A. Green, psychologist and author of Saying Good-bye to the Pet You Love. “The unique contribution of the CD is that it goes beyond giving educational information or a personal story. It contains powerful affirmation statements rooted in cognitive psychology.”

Grieving over the death of your pet used to have people rolling their eyes or seriously suggesting a mental health evaluation because “it” was “just a dog” or “only a cat”, a horribly disrespectful and painful comment to a person already in pain over a loss.

Not so today. Our companion animals are recognized not only for what they can do for us, but also for their own individual needs, personality and style, and so their loss is also recognized as the loss of a distinct individual.

Karen, Pepper and Zep

Karen, Pepper and Zep

Litzinger wrote all the text for the booklet and the readings and designed the entire concept as part of her grief response from her own loss.

“The CD is dedicated to my beloved dog children, Pepper and Zep,” Litzinger says without hesitation.

“My inspiration for the Healing Hearts CD came while driving home from the veterinarian with the cremains of my 15 year old dog, Pepper, who I had had since a puppy from a local rescue league,” Litzinger explains. “I was further motivated on my journey to create this CD when my 13 year old dog, Zep, died just four months after Pepper.”

She had originally wanted to create something for veterinarians to give grieving clients right after the euthanasia procedure to supplement the personal support and follow-up sympathy card.

“I created a pet loss booklet for veterinarians, but the CD is what I hope will serve grieving pet owners in a more profound way,” she continues. “Just as I found comfort in listening to a special music CD as I grieved for Pepper, I hope that some part of this CD will help in the healing process for you or the person to whom you give the CD.”

Her loss has not only become the gain of others who will find comfort from her CD and booklet, but also her own gain in finding this new professional outlet.

Dog Paw

Dog Paw Illustration

Litzinger is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Pennsylvania, and although her specialty is career counseling, after her loss and through of the idea of being able to help others she chose to attend a weeklong training through the American Academy of Bereavement to become a Certified Bereavement Facilitator. As part of renewing the certification, she did an internship under the direction of a psychologist through the Association of Pet Loss and Bereavement, an organization that hosts on-line chat rooms about the euthanasia decision and pet loss.

“I have a special interest in ritual as part of the healing process and conducted numerous non-denominational animal blessings and memorial services on a personal and professional basis,” Litzinger adds. “In addition to career counseling, I also offer pet bereavement counseling in the Pittsburgh area.”

The CD and book were positively reviewed by Nancy Peterson of the Humane Society of the United States, noted pet loss authors Lorri A. Green, Moira Allen, and Sherry B. True and animal journalists and writers Darlene Arden and Michelle West. In addition, during the two years Litzinger worked on creating the set, she asked friends and associates to review the product to ensure that the content universally appealed to the greatest number of people.

More information on the CD including reviews and excerpts as well as further resources for healing from pet loss can be found at www.healfrompetloss.com.

At the Rainbow

At the Rainbow