What Support is there for a Bereaved Owner?

Nicky Diver-Clarke RVN Your Pet Nurse Hastings

‘Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog, it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs your heart is very big.’ – Erica Jong

I offer a Pet Taxi Service in my role as an independent Mobile Veterinary Nurse and sadly this service most recently has been used by owners to take their pet to the vet for the last time. The journey we take back home afterwards is melancholy, quiet, reflective. I feel privileged to share this time with pet owners and try to offer light at this dark time. Now I work outside of normal veterinary practice I am fortunate enough to have time with grieving owners that I didn’t have while working in the clinic.

A support service I refer to time and time again is The Blue Cross Their service includes a telephone and email service. They are wonderful. They also supply a great range of leaflets including one specific to ‘Support for Children’.

The Animal Samaritans are a charity run organisation and offer a support line and memorial page on their website 

The Ralph Site offer a not-for-profit website, an active Facebook page and a closed discussion group for owners.

Through conversations with bereaved owners and those coming to terms with pet loss, I have discovered the value of keepsakes, tributes and memorialisation. There are a variety of cremation options but did you know some crematoriums allow you to attend a service? Often the crematorium also has a garden of remembrance which you may visit.

Ask your vet or nurse for a small clipping of fur or a paw print in ink to take home. Try to remember to take off your cat or dog’s collar. This can offer some comfort in the immediate moments afterwards. Sometimes a vet practice may offer their own memorial options.

In time, it would be worthwhile going through your old photos and possibly writing down your thoughts. This can be hard but has fantastic healing ability. Create a memory board or pop your favourite pictures into a frame. Did you ever have a professional pet portrait?

Finally, a company that I have come across both at work and through personal recommendation can put your pet’s ashes into jewellery. Visit ashesintoglass

There are several specialist Pet Bereavement Councillors. Do some research and look
for recommendations before committing to the sessions, and consider the financial implications of counselling. If you’re not coping then don’t struggle on your own. Even
a simple cuppa and a chat can make a big difference (this is my own best medicine!). We are social creatures, we all need support and comfort sometimes.


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