The death of a pet can have a huge impact on one’s life. Pets are a part of our families and we have very special bonds with them. When a pet dies, it can be hard for others to understand our grief. This can cause our grief to become complicated and take much longer to work through.
At Caring Pathways, we understand the emptiness that comes with the death of your furry loved one. We offer grief support services to help you through this journey and will be with you every step of the way.
Is what I am feeling normal?
There are many feelings associated with the death of a pet. You may experience anger, denial, guilt, and great sadness. These are all normal feelings that our Grief Support Specialist can help you work through in a healthy way.
What is grief?
When a pet dies, it is normal to go through the same grief processes as when a human loved one dies. Grief is the reaction you have to the loss of your pet. This can be feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, etc. Mourning is the process by which an individual deals with the absence of their pet after his/her death. This is expressed by cultural and ritual ceremonies. Many people feel that a ceremony or a memorial of some kind is needed for closure surrounding the death of their pet.
What services do you offer?
Caring Pathways currently offers the following Grief Support Services:
-Individual Phone and Face to Face Appointments
-Family Face to Face Sessions
-Support can be before or after a pet has passed
When can I request grief support?
Caring Pathways understands the grief process begins the moment you find out that your pet has a terminal diagnosis. Our Grief Support Specialist can help you work through the anticipatory grief you may be experiencing at facing the death of your pet. You can call us during any time of your pet’s journey for information about our services. These services may include planning a ceremony, having someone help walk you through body care choices (burial vs. cremation), or simply having someone to talk to.
Meet the Grief Support Specialist:
My name is Mandi Browning and I am excited to join the Caring Pathways team as the Grief Support Specialist. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in thanatology (death, dying and bereavement). I have taught death, dying and bereavement courses for school district staff and college students at Front Range Community College. I have experience working in a human hospice as a social worker and volunteer coordinator.
Everyone has to deal with death and grief. Although our society has made some improvements on being more open about death, I feel like the death of a pet is still a disenfranchised grief. Most people in our society barely talk about the death of a human let alone a pet. I believe that there is great need for grief support in this arena.
When my cat Goku was diagnosed with terminal cancer, my world was shattered. He was 19 and it was difficult to remember life before him. I do not have children, so my cats are definitely my kids. I literally felt as though my child was dying. Not many people understood that.
I had friends and family that were supportive and understood what a big part of my life Goku was. I also had some that could not fathom why I was so upset about “just a cat”. Some people do not have the supportive circle to help them. I would like to be that for them. I would like to help them feel normal when no one understands why they are still sad. I would like to help them heal the wound of grief into a scar of survival. I would like to let them tell their story and validate their emotions.
If you are looking for support on an individual, family or group level, please contact email@example.com. You can also call our office at 720-287-2553 for more information.
Colorado Issues Interviews Caring Pathways: Pet Loss & Grief Support
Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. - When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering, and Healing. This book provides some tips on coping with that grief, and with the difficult decisions we face upon losing a pet.
The Human Animal Bond Trust (HABT) in Denver is a non-profit organization which exists to serve those who are anticipating or experiencing the loss of an animal companion. That loss may be one of the most devastating and painful experiences you will ever face. Such a loss can be as traumatic as losing a family member or a dear friend. To meet the needs of those faced with animal loss, HABT provides the help of professional grief counselors through the Denver Pet Loss Support Group. You can find more about support groups on their website.
Another great resource is the Pet Loss website where you will find a wealth of resources for most of your grieving questions and concerns as you work through accepting the loss of your pet. This site has a list of Counselors for many cities and states. Once on the website, click on "Links and Hotlines,” and then click on “Colorado” to view a list of support groups and counselors in your area.
The APLB is unique, and the only organization in the world offering extensive free advice for grief. Their services are free and available to anyone grieving for a beloved pet. They pride themselves on incorporating the collective wisdom and experience of their friends and members, and they make that freely available to anyone who can use it, during deep bereavement for a beloved pet.
Pet Loss Support Groups
This is a walk-in pet loss group that is free. Its meetings are held every Thursday from 6:30pm to 8:00pm in the Colorado Veterinary Medical Foundation & Petaid Colorado, located at 191 Yuma Street Denver, CO. Their contact number is: 303-318-0447. Visit their website to learn more about their available support groups.
Resources for Children: Children grieve very differently than adults. For support and info on what to look for, please contact the Grief Support Specialist.
- When Dinosaurs Die, A Guide to Understanding Death by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (ages 6-10)
- Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck Deklyen (ages 6-10)
- The Tenth Best Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst (ages 4-9)
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (ages 6-10)
- Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (ages 9-13)
- Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant (ages 4-11)
- Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant (ages 4-11)
- The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye by Jane Yoles (ages 6-9)
-I’ll Always Love you by Hans Wilhelm (ages 2-6)
- Jasper’s Day by Majorie Blain Parker (ages 6-10)
- The Legend of the Rainbow Bridge by William N. Britton
Ages are a recommendation but may be used for other ages. For more support and resources for children, please contact the Grief Support Specialist.
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