By Jim Misunas
A Pawnee County native who has received national recognition has authored a book that provides information on how to remember and honor pets when they die.
Coleen Ellis of Greenwood, Ind., is the daughter of Ann Ellis and the late Larry Ellis of Rozel. She is a Pawnee Heights High School graduate.
Her book, “Pet Parents: A Journey Through Unconditional Love and Grief,” provides essential information for pet owners on what to do when their pet dies and how to find a pet loss provider who is reputable and compassionate.
“I’m proud to share this information with my home state,” Ellis said. “I’m proud to be from Pawnee County and am so appreciative of the lessons I learned and the education I received. That part of my life shaped who I am today.”
Ellis and her husband, Chris Burke, are parents to two children, Brian and Amy; and four dogs, Ellie Mae, Crisco, Rudy and Mike The Dog.
Several family members of the 1987 Fort Hays State graduate reside in central Kansas — a grandmother Anne Dreiling, Odin; aunt Judy Jenisch and uncle Jerry Jenisch, Great Bend; aunt Sharon Dreiling and uncle Gary Dreiling, Hoisington; aunt Jane Dreiling and uncle Dennis Dreiling, Claflin; and aunt Judi Welch and uncle Lynn Welch, Pawnee Rock.
Ellis is the owner of Two Hearts Pet Loss Center in Greenwood, Ind. She believes the book is an important resource for anyone who works with bereaved pet owners, including funeral homes, veterinarians and grief specialists.
“I wrote this book so that pet parents will know that it’s OK to mourn the loss of a beloved pet,” she said. “I want them to know their various options. But just as important, I want both veterinarians and death-care professionals to understand the trauma involved with losing a beloved pet. It can be as devastating as losing a human family member.”
The book provides various tips, including:
• Ideas on how to celebrate the special bonds people share with pets.
• Checklists to choose the right cremation provider or funeral home.
• Stories that show how pets can be honored in life and in death.
• How death-care professionals, veterinarians and others can better serve pet parents.
• Resources to help children cope with the loss of a pet.
• Resources to help people remember their pets.
In 2004, Ellis founded Pet Angel Memorial Center, the first stand-alone pet funeral home in the United States. In April 2009, she founded Two Hearts Pet Loss Center, a consulting business that guides people who want to provide pet death care services to their communities.
She has previously worked for Forethought Financial Services, the nation’s largest insurance and trust provider to the funeral industry for funding funerals in advance.
Ellis’ book has received favorable reviews.
“Pet Parents: A Journey Through Unconditional Love and Grief is a must-read for anyone that is a pet lover and, anyone who has lost or is approaching the loss of their ‘fur baby,’ ” said Roberta Knauf, pet funeral director, Hermitage, Pa. “The stories are heartwarming and the information about the entire pet loss industry is priceless.”
Author Joe Dwyer wrote “Shelby’s Grace,” a story about an abused dog that is rescued.
“Pet Parents,” will go a long way to assist our goal of making the lives of our animal companions matter in life and in death,” Dwyer said. “When people read “Pet Parents,” they will enhance their knowledge of what these beautiful creatures mean to our society.”
Robyn Kesnow is a registered veterinary technician.
“The stories and information shared in this book will change the way we honor and memorialize our pets and bring a new level of dignity to a previously neglected part of loving and living with pets,” Kesnow said. “Read it, share it and keep it on the shelf for when you’re ready to take action.”
The book is available as a hard copy or in an eBook format. For information, access the web site www.twoheartspetlosscenter.com or search for the book on iUniverse at http://www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.