It was a busy and I must admit, at times stressful, year with having two new books published and doing a flurry of interviews on the radio, podcasts or video! The interviews are available on the Updates & Events page of my website, www.petlosspress.com but here is one of my favourites – I was a speaker at the April 2021: Animal Communicator and Healer Summit (just over 30 mins long): https://youtu.be/M40WZVz-BH8
It has been heartening to create new pathways out into the world to help people and their pets through the difficulties that invariably surround the end of a companion animal’s life. Those of us who have been through it know what a roller-coaster it is. We need support, we need to be understood, we need to be heard and we need sensitive guidance to help us do our best for the beloved pet who has shared our lives – all the while nursing a broken heart and facing uncertainty.
Both of the new books:
- ‘When It’s Time to Say Goodbye – Preparing for the Transition of Your Beloved Pet’ (for guardians)
- ‘Companion Animal Bereavement – A One Health Workbook for Veterinary Professionals’ (for vet and animal welfare staff)
…include a strong focus on the welfare of companion animals during anticipated loss. Here’s a snippet from a professional review written about the veterinary book which highlights the importance of this aspect:
“One of the essential elements of this book, and perhaps the most refreshing and important, is the complete focus it has on the mental landscapes and lives of our companion animals themselves. Animals are always mutual partners in this journey, never playing second-fiddle to the bereavement process of humans, but always placed firmly on the same footing when it comes to the decisions made about end-of-life planning.” Andrew Perry – Animal Behaviour and Welfare (BSc), Anthrozoology (MSc)
As an example of protecting the animal’s welfare, I’m sharing a brief extract about an issue that can arise when caring for an elderly pet. This is from one of the downloadable resources available to vet teams to hand out to guardians in ‘Companion Animal Bereavement – A One Health Workbook for Veterinary Professionals’ (Ch 3, p 24):
“If you are caring for an elderly pet, you may notice symptoms which you assume are due to old age. However, it is important not to dismiss these because, even if they are related to ageing, they most likely will indicate a medical condition which requires diagnosis and treatment by your vet.”
It can be incredibly stressful for guardians as they navigate many unknown factors and face the inevitable death of their much loved pet. As it says in ‘When It’s Time to Say Goodbye – Preparing for the Transition of Your Beloved Pet’ (Ch 6, p 42):
“Try to be aware of your stress levels, and remember that, as the carer, you also need to receive care. If you have friends or family who understand that you’re going through a difficult time, allow yourself to accept their love, support, and, where appropriate, practical assistance. If you aren’t able to draw upon others in this way, there are some excellent organisations that offer a listening ear, understanding and support to people before and after loss. No-one has to go through this alone.”
At EASE, our mission has been to ensure that no-one goes through pet bereavement alone, and we have a wide range of resources available to download from the EASE website: https://ease-animals.org.uk/pet-loss-support/
Angela Garner, Animal Bereavement Specialist.