Grieving the Loss of a Beloved Pet

by Joshua Nacht, M.A.
The Companion-Fall 2009
News for friends and supporters of the Longmont Humane Society

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult events any of us will experience. Whether the loved one was a human or a pet, the flood of emotions can be overwhelming and destabilizing.

There are well-known resources for those who have lost a beloved person, but for those who have lost a treasured companion animal, where can they turn for support? One of Longmont Humane Society’s lead community business partners, Aspen Meadow Veterinary Specialists, offers free pet-loss support groups.

Grief manifests itself in a variety of ways, and there is no “right” or “wrong” way to experience grief. Grief can have physical, mental, and emotional manifestations such as uncontrolled crying, loss of heart, time distortions and inability to concentrate. Some people may withdraw socially and experience spiritual confusion.

As the grief counseling group leader at Aspen Meadow, I believe that the most important aspect of grieving is that someone engages in the process, no matter what form that takes. Grief and loss counseling usually involves working with the client to explore what is happening for them. It’s not about fixing symptoms, but helping clients experience the difficult emotions and thoughts because that’s the way to work through the process.

Allowing yourself time to grieve is important, but this can be hard in a society that often expects people to “just get over it.” Remember that the loss of a pet can be just as difficult as the loss of a person, even though some people may not recognize that. Taking care of yourself is essential.

The group meets on the second and fourth Monday of each month from 6:30 to 9pm at the clinic, 104 S. Main Street in Longmont. A simple pre-interview is requested to make group safe and productive for group members. For more information or to attend the group, please call (303) 678-8844.

AMVS is a 24-hour veterinary facility providing specialty internal medicine, surgery, emergency and critical care, physical rehabilitation, pain management, and blood bank services for pets. They are located in Longmont at 104 S. Main St. For more information, go to www.AspenMeadowVet.com.

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