What support is available for bereaved pet owners?

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When a member of your family dies, it is natural to grieve. However, if you lose a pet there is little support available and the people close to you may not understand the strength of the bond that existed between you and your pet.

Why shouldn’t the bond be strong? After all, you have shared many of your family’s milestones and achievements. For example, the family that adopts a dog as a companion and partner in crime, for a young child? That family may still have their dog when the child grows up and leaves for university.

Others living on their own may rely on their pet for companionship. Losing a pet in this situation can be as traumatic and upsetting as losing any other family member.

What can be surprising for some is the strength of emotion they feel when they lose their pet. Often they don’t expect their emotions to be so strong or last for so long.

Pet loss support

Grief is a process

It is important to remember that grief is a natural process. Whilst it has no set timeframe, most people will be able to navigate their grief without seeking professional support. It is common to start feeling better after 6 – 8 weeks. However, the symptoms of grief can last for many months or even a couple of years.

When should I seek support?

Signs that you are not coping well with your grief include:

  • you can’t get out of bed
  • you neglect yourself or your family – for example, you don’t eat properly
  • the feeling that you can’t go on without the pet you’ve lost
  • the emotion is so intense it’s affecting the rest of your life – for example, you can’t face going to work or you’re taking your anger out on someone else

If you find yourself any of the above, it may be time to seek help.

Sources of pet loss support

CPC trained advisors

Our bereavement advisors are able to support you through the initial stages of grief. In particular, they have many years’ expertise in arranging your pet’s cremation.

Online tributes

We provide a free service for bereaved pet owners to create an online pet tribute. As a result, many of our clients tell us that creating an online pet tribute has helped with the grieving process.

Book of remembrance

At each of our crematoria, we have books of remembrance. We provide free downloadable templates that you can use to create an entry. Simply download and print the page template – create your own message and return it to the relevant crematoria where we will include your pages to go on display in our book of remembrance.

Pet memorials

We also provide a range of pet memorials to help you to commemorate your beloved pet.

The Blue Cross

The Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Service (PBSS) mission is to provide free and confidential emotional support. The lines are open from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm every day.
Tel: 0800 096 6606
www.bluecross.org.uk 
pbssmail@bluecross.org.uk

Samaritans

Samaritans provide confidential non-judgemental support 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress.
Tel: 116 123
www.samaritans.org
jo@samaritans.org

Cats Protection

Launched by Cats Protection, paws to listen, is a confidential phone line enabling owners to speak to trained volunteers who can offer emotional and practical help in coping with pet loss. The lines are open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

Tel: 0800 024 94 94
www.cats.org.uk/grief

The British Horse Society

‘Friends at the End’ is a BHS initiative designed to make sure that no horse owner has to face the loss of their equine companion alone.

Tel: 02476 840517
http://www.bhs.org.uk/our-work/welfare/our-campaigns/friends-at-the-end
friendsattheend@bhs.org.uk

The Ralph Site – pet loss support

The Ralph Site is a not-for-profit online pet bereavement resource. It provides support and useful resources to pet carers around the difficult time of the loss of a beloved companion. It consists of a website, a Facebook page and a busy private Facebook group.

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