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We know losing your companion is difficult and we want to help you. We’ve been through it ourselves and we understand. At Kindred Spirits, we are available to talk to and advise you. We can be a comforting resource by answering your questions, helping you select keepsakes or just listening to a story. Whatever you need, we will help you through this difficult time.
In this video, a Tufts University veterinary social worker offers ways to process grief and build a new normal after a pet passes away.
Grief can affect every aspect of your being. Therefore, your emotional, physical, cognitive, social, and spiritual needs must be nurtured in order to work through grief and to heal.
The following are some suggestions on how you might begin the process of self-care. You may find that improving in one aspect makes you feel better in others, or that certain behaviors help in more than one area. This is because they cannot really be separated; each is somewhat dependent on the others and all are crucial in healing and maintaining your general good health.
Emotional – Emotional care involves expressing and acknowledging your pain.
Physical – Physical care is done to keep your body healthy. Grief can deplete your energy and make you extremely susceptible to illness and disease.
Cognitive – Cognitive functioning can be extremely impaired by grief. Try stimulating yourself intellectually to improve your memory, concentration, and other cognitive abilities.
Spiritual – Spiritual care involves doing things that you enjoy, that connect you with nature, and being kind to yourself. Some people refer to this as working in your “heart zone.” Spiritual care can, but does not have to, include your religious beliefs or your philosophy on life.
Dr. Barrett works with Rev. Murray Flagg, PhD to coordinate a pet grief support group. Rev. Flagg is the Director of Spiritual & Educational Services at Harmony Hospice in Tucson and leads group discussions about pet loss. The meetings are currently virtual through Zoom due to Covid-19. Contact us for more information.
Pet Loss Support Group
If interested: (520) 327-6088 ext 134
Pet Loss Hotline (520) 304-3909
Online Grief Resources.
Pet Loss Support Hotline
Mon-Fri 6pm-9pm EST
Voice mail 24 hr/day
Grief Counseling in Tucson
Pet Loss Hotline
Mon-Fri 10am-9pm EST
24/7 nationwide service to help you find resources you need in crisis & emergency.
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Saying goodbye to your pet is even more difficult when children are involved. Click on the article below for some guidelines to help a child understand and grieve the loss of a pet.
Tess's Tributes is a Facebook Group that allows members to post memorials for pets that have crossed to the Rainbow Bridge. Kindred Spirits Pet Services want to hear your pet stories and allow a forum to remember our loved ones. Tess's Tributes also contains posts about grief and memorializing your pet. Click on Tess's picture to link to the Facebook page. Join our group and share your cherished pet memories with us.
You can donate items to various groups in the Tucson area. Kindred Spirits is proud to support Cody's Friends Charity. They accept new and used pet supplies (bowls, toys, beds, crates, blankets, etc) and pet food. Cody's Friends supplies over 100 human and animal service groups in Southern Arizona. You can drop off donations at over 35 local businesses across Tucson.
Click on the Cody's Friends logo for more information.
It is hard to know whether grief as we understand it is something that our companion animals feel when they lose a fellow four-legged friend. Since we cannot simply ask them how they are feeling, we can observe them for signs of grief. Several studies show that dogs grieve for their close canine companions.
Your pet simply knows that their friend is no longer present and may exhibit one or more symptoms of grief including:
Things to Remember
What can I do to help my grieving pet?
♥ Stay positive: As hard as it is for you to cope with your own loss, talk to your remaining pets in a calm and upbeat voice as often as possible.
♥ Engage in new activities: Giving your pets something new to learn or focus on may help distract them from the loss and the uncertainty surrounding it. Dogs, especially, benefit from learning something new that will give them confidence in their pack position.
♥ Do more of what your pets already love to do. Getting to do something fun and enjoyable with you can go a long way toward helping your pet cope – and will help you feel better, too.
Helpful hint: While it is tempting to comfort your pets when they are showing signs of hurting, it’s important that you don’t try to soothe them while they are engaging in unwanted behaviors you don’t want to encourage.
How long does grief last in pets?
Like humans, the grieving process differs for each individual pet experiencing it, lasting weeks to months. Many things can affect the grieving process; including but not limited to the age and health of the pet, the relationship with the other pet, and the grieving process of the humans in the household. Your pet’s reaction to the loss should improve as the days/weeks go by. If this does not happen then you should contact your regular Veterinarian.
When should I notify my veterinarian?
If you notice that your pet is not returning to their “normal self”, especially if there are severe or persistent symptoms, it may be time to call your regular veterinarian for a check-up.
Should I get another animal as a companion for my pet?
This is the one of those questions for which you are the best person to answer. You know your pets better than anyone else and are most likely the one who knows best if another pet will make your current pet or pets feel better.
Some things you might consider when making this decision are: