DURING THE PAST FEW MONTHS I have been noticing some new trends in the journey of grief.  In fact, these changes may very well alter the “Manifestations of Grief”.  I am hearing more and more vitriol towards veterinarians for many reasons:

The empathy and understanding which used to be a principal of the profession is waning;

The costs are becoming a deterrent for many people who want the very best for the animals but simply cannot afford it;

Office hours are often reduced and more referrals are being made to emergency services that display fees which are even more excessive;

The personal touch of the last generation of vets has been replaced by more patience, less individual time, and faster decisions;

The politics of the trade are leading to increased competition but not necessarily  for better service.

What we now criticize in our own medical “assistance” is arising among vets almost more excessively.  Of course, I am speaking generally and it should be agreed and applauded that many still practice for practice sake and for the love of animals.

                BUT, the question that arises is “what does all of this have to do with Pet Loss Canada and other excellent organizations?”  Regrettably, much.  Many people that call me are substituting our NON-PROFIT and free services for all or some of the above reasons.  I am NOT a veterinarian, lack the medical and educational skills to be one, but when dealing with grief the tables are turned.  No one can take A COURSE or A SEMINAR and become an expert in the handling and support of those who grieve.  The sad part about this, however, is that when people ask for advice outside my scope and training they often become agitated and, in some cases, abusive.  A recent caller comes to mind:  he questioned the experience and competence of the vet who euthanized his dog.  Beyond this he wanted to talk about his personal relationships, financial situation and even multiple deaths, one of which occurred over 10 years ago.  The man was offended when I wanted to help but, after 45 minutes, did not share his views further.   Also,  in my personal life my wife and I were awaiting word about a dear friend dying in a hospice and, also,  wanting to sleep after a long night- it was 6:30am.  The most amazing part of this story was that he had been referred by a vet assistant.

                This leads to a question which is coming to me more and more:  “what’s it (PLC) all about” and do we want to make such a shift in our efforts.  PLC usually charges NOTHING, especially for telephone calls, yet the abuse and tirades are ever increasing and becoming more discouraging to what is, for me, a true labour of love.  Perhaps it is time to be proud of what has been accomplished, but to admit that we are being forced to change and criticized if we don’t.

                So, again I ask:  WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?”                              BRIEN


WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT — 2 Comments

  1. Brien I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I think a lot of people are getting frustrated when they lose a pet and think it could have been prevented by their trusted veterinarian. This happened to me with my dog . It turns to anger and it’s hard to deal with. I turned to this site for support and got it and I was so grateful. But this is a pet loss support site. I would assume the man you are talking about is devastated over losing his pet and maybe very lonely and probably needs a different kind of support as well. You are a very kind and generous person to do what you do here. This site is here to help us through our grief and that’s what it’s all about.

  2. Brien, I was saddened to hear that the verbal abuse from folks seeking help to deal with the loss of their pet is increasing. You kindly took the time out of your busy day, but in my case it was the evening, as I live on Vancouver Island, to speak to me and help me overcome my intense grief, after the death of my beloved Yorkie, Gus.

    After you spoke to me, I could think clearer, and I felt I was in a better place, in order to move forward to honour my little dog in a loving and respectful manner. You asked me questions and made suggestions that made sense to me, which provided comfort, during this difficult time.

    You are a gifted and “special” human being, who gives help from the bottom of your heart to those who are in pain. You have a true understanding of what we are experiencing. I hope we never lose Pet Loss Canada, as it will be a significant loss for Canada. We don’t have this service in British Columbia, and I can’t think of another province that provides the level of care and compassion that you provide.

    I just want to thank you again, as I will never forget your kindness and wisdom.

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