Have you lost your beloved animal companion and maybe feel that people are thinking “Oh pull yourself together – its just a dog!” or a cat or a horse. Anyone who says this has never experienced the unconditional love of a companion animal. Grieving the loss of a pet, whether through disappearance or death can be intensely traumatic and is often misunderstood, denigrated or dismissed. Yet it is a bereavement as heart felt as any other. Sometimes it can be the closest relationship at that time in a person’s life, the only being that someone talks to and is affectionate with. We all know how good they are for one’s health, be it lowering blood pressure, a rise in the bonding hormone oxytocin or exercise. If loss comes at a time of other stresses in life, it can be devastating and trigger depression. How ever you might be feeling, you do not have to go through this difficult time alone. The pain, loneliness and unwarranted and destructive guilt often plaguing one’s mind at this time can be a very isolating experience for individuals, even within a family. In fact the very innocence and lack of voice that animals have can make us feel particularly protective. Counselling is available. Sometimes it simply helps to know that someone understands and to talk about it. Similarly you might be nursing a very sick animal, struggling to deal with their suffering or making difficult decisions and coming to terms with parting. If you are looking for support please do not hesitate to call for counselling.


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