Pet Loss CanadaBereavement Support For People Who Have Lost Their Pet Animal
It is natural to miss a loved one and need to psychologically and emotionally “regroup” as each person experiences their own journey through loss and, perhaps, an ultimate realization that their lives will be forever altered. Pet Loss Canada is a non-profit organization that has been established to assist all those who are experiencing the impending loss or are grieving the death of an animal, including all related issues that arise as consequences.

What Others Are Saying About Pet Loss Canada

  • “Anyone who has suffered a loss should not miss this!”
  • “We are better for the experience”
  • “A safe place to learn about and process our loss.”
  • “We were so thankful to have been a part of these sessions.”
  • “We never would have come to terms with our grief as quickly as we did”
  • a full list of testimonials

The Power of Counselling

Counselling for those who have or are experiencing the great loss of a beloved pet is incredibly rewarding and a true honour. Those who walk the road of grief / mourning are generally able, with family and friend support, to reach a successful conclusion believing that the pain and suffering will eventually subside but will never entirely disappear.  However, there are many others who, for various reasons, become “stuck” at some point in their grief processes and need the assistance of a trained, empathetic counsellor to be able to continue their journey.Budgie Pet Loss Canada

The first requirement in every loss is to realize that our beloved pet has not “passed on”, “gone to sleep” or “has gone away” but, in fact, is dead.  This may sound harsh but there needs to be a realization that the pet will never physically return to us. Hopefully this realitywill be replaced by the wonderful thoughts and memories of the pleasant moments our pet gave to us while being a part of the family.

Pain, sorrow and especially anger can be extremely debilitating.  A woman who, not being able to have children, saw her three dogs as her “children”.  They all died within a relatively short period of time causing even more extreme pain and rage.  The first night of a group course this person sat all night, physically removed from the other members of the group, believing she was alone, Older Dogand, while continuously looking at the pictures of her pets, she cried and wailed uncontrollably.  She expressed considerable anger at the veterinarians who had cared for her dogs for 15 years but, in the end, could not prevent death. As the course continued through weeks 2 and 3 she slowly began to realize that others in the group were also experiencing pain and suffering of their own.  Her crying slowly subsided and by week three after a discussion with her and her family she was able to express some happiness and much less annoyance.  Now, several months later, she sends me pictures of her new animals and also occasional jokes:  her anger has somewhat gone and she has been able to develop a bond with a new pet friend.

Cute Puppy

Can anyone ask for more?  To witness the “before” and “after” results of counselling are awe inspiring for all.  Each individual story carries with it the pain and experiences of those involved.  This story represents the reason for counselling in pet loss and the ultimate reward of eventually moving forward with life:  recognizing that the hole in our hearts that was created by the loss will not go away, but that we will be able to accept its presence and allow ourselves to develop a new direction for our lives where other pet friends are welcome and appreciated.

About the Header Image “The Path”

The Path

The Path

 

We invite you to explore the picture for all the symbolism that you might find and reflect upon the significance.


Comments

— 296 Comments

  1. My sweet baby boy passed away suddenly on Tuesday afternoon. Today he would have been his 4th birthday. He was an American fuzzy lop mixed with a holland lop. He came into my life needing a forever home and someone to love him. My heart hurts for my little girl who is missing her friend. I really didn’t expect to lose him so soon. Recently separated from partner of 9 years and next day ashes died. I’m just looking for some support

    • So sorry to hear of your loss. My loss was today and is affecting me more than I imagined. Difficult to provide comfort to you when my loss is so recent except to say that your bunny was loved and you were a good guardian. Take strength from wherever you find it and remember the happy times with your beloved pet. 🐰🐇😊

  2. My heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost a beloved friend.
    I lost my Ambra, my 16 year old feline life companion on Friday from complications
    related to pulmonary fibrosis. The condition happened so suddenly that we (myself and the veterinary specialists) were completely surprised.

    Her Lymphoma was in remission after 2 years of treatment and her early stage 2 CKD was being treated successfully. A visit two weeks prior with one of her specialists was very positive. All the bet visits, which she hated, were positive. A lot of going back and forth outside of her bubble (our home). Everything about our home revolved around her. The furniture placement, extra boxes to allow her to climb up, and numerous other tweaks. I had even changed the bathroom faucet to an open spout model because she liked drinking from there (despite having a water fountain). She had free rein of the house but never took advantage of it. She knew she wasn’t allowed on kitchen counters so she never went up on to them. I trained her how to open the bedroom closet accordion style doors because she had a spot there and to open the bedroom door (banana style handle) if she ever felt like patrolling there. She slept on her pillow next to me and would come and nag me to get off the computer and come to bed if I was on too long. I fell asleep to her purring every night with my hand touching her (otherwise she would place her paw on my arm for that contact). She was very vocal and trilled a reply every time I addressed her. Simply being in the same room made her purr. We had a special connection unlike any other cat I had previously had. She would even let me rub her belly and her paws. She never complained she just purred.

    A week ago I noticed she was not her usual self and didn’t come to greet me one night when I got home. She seemed more fatigued which I attributed to her border line anemia (brought on by 2 years of chemo). We would get that fixed after the Canada Day holiday with her oncologist. Then out of the blue she started panting. When I brought her to the veterinary hospital last Sunday they immediately put her in the oxygen cage. Then the tests started and her oncologist, the internal specialists, and radiologists could not figure out the cause despite 4 days of x-rays, CT scan, aspirates, heart scan, and multiple blood tests. I took the week off work to wait at the hospital making sure to talk to the doctors face to face and get a chance to visit her a couple of times. One thing I did notice was that she hated being there. I know this because every time we went for her oncology check-up (every 6 weeks) she was not pleased.
    I had decided she needed to come home to the place she wanted to be. I made her 2 oxygen cages (1 for transport from the hospital, and a larger one to stay in while I treated). I rented the oxygen generator, and several oxygen cylinders for transport and in case the power went out. The transport home went well and her first night back was uneventful. She ate and drank which always made me happy. I even placed the oxygen cage on the bed and we slept side by side separated by a thin translucent barrier. She even purred as we fell asleep. The next day I was going to build her an even bigger oxygen cage using a large dog cage wrapped in a thick plastic sheet. I saw one built by a gentleman for his sick dog on YouTube and I was going to do the same. However, I never got the opportunity.

    She woke me very early the next morning and realized she did not want to use the smaller litter pan in her oxygen cage. So I brought her to her litter in the basement which she entered but quickly re-energed about 4 seconds later gasping for air. I quickly put her back in her oxygen cage which was now mostly devoid of enough concentrated oxygen. The oxygen wasn’t enough and I saw her gasping for air even as I pumped in fresh oxygen. Then before my very eyes she collapsed in front of me. Her breathing was slow and shallow. I rushed upstairs to connect the cage to the oxygen concentrator. I watched helplessly as she slowly started slipping away despite my cries to her and greater powers that be to hold on. I ran downstairs and got the large 4 foot oxygen cylinder and connected it to a mask which I placed over her face. It brought her back but with no response. One of the specialists with whom I was in contact via email told me she probably had suffered a pulmonary embolism. I was devastated. Four days in ICU, all the hope of trying the treatments for nothing and to witness the most heart-wrenching event in my life. The event is burned into my memory. That is all I see now awake and asleep. I’m in the military and have seen death and destruction first-hand on mission but nothing struck me like this. There was nothing to be done. A vet came to euthanize the love of my life. I am devastated. There is a gaping whole in my world. I am no longer complete.

    • This is absolutely my nightmare come true. I’m already having 24/7 anxiety, no sleep without medication and total lack of appetite because my 15 year old dog will have to “cross the rainbow bridge” at some point within the next month or two.
      Every day is torture even though he’s still here. I never know if he’ll eat etc (he’s a bag of bones already)…so to read about your experience…well, Mike, I certainly wouldn’t be in any condition to be writing about it. I’d probably be in the psych ward. The sole and only positive thing you can say is that you know nothing else that ever happens in your life will be worse; you’ve experienced the worst thing you ever will. Being in the military, you know about PTSD and, although non-animal people would disagree, I think that’s what you’re suffering from. I send you all the sympathy of which I’m capable. You are not alone, friend.

      • Joanne,

        My heart and prayers go out to you and your four legged friend. All I can say is try to share tender moments together. I know it is difficult now. I’m sorry to say it will get worse. However, don’t wait till the bitter end to let your friend go. I had been helping her successfully fight Lymphoma for so long that I believed she would get over the pulmonary troubles as well. I now regret having reanimated her after she crashed the first time and then having to scramble to find a vet who would come to my home to perform the euthanasia.I know it was instinct that kicked in and was ready to move the Earth, if need be, to save her but it wasn’t the best decision for her last moments. Luckily the vet who did come was so tender and caring and allowed me to assist him, holding her in my lap, holding the mask over her face while he administered the different injections that allowed her to peacefully cross over.

        Make the goodbye on your terms. Like I said share lots of together time; touch is so important. Try to be thankful that he/she is still by your side. They sense emotions and it affects them so try to be upbeat during these moments. Also take pictures of good moments if you can. I have taken many pictures over the years and am going to print them all and place them in albums. I bought a couple of them on Amazon and am hoping to work on that his weekend when I receive them. It helps with the grieving process.

        Make preparations for the remains while you’re still not overcome by grief and emotion. I had Ambra cremated. I chose to attend and just like for people, I had a private viewing room to spend over an hour with her remains before the cremation. I must have cried about 45 minutes straight. I was very fortunate, Nathalie at Cremanimo, a pet lover herself who also went through difficult pet loss separation, was so wonderful and empathetic. We cried together. She helped me make paw prints and shaved a bit of Ambra’s fur for me to keep. These little things will become very important to you later. I now have her ashes in a beautiful urn where she loved to sleep with a beautiful photo and electronic candle. I’m going to amend my will to make sure her urn accompanies me when it’s my turn to go.

        I hope you have some vacation days you can use because you will need them. Alone time is necessary for grieving. Stay away from the non-animal people who will say something callous like “It’s only a dog.” They don’t understand and you don’t want to have to argue at a time like this. Remind yourself that they have obviously never connected with a four-legged friend whose center of their universe is you. Take the time to let it out and grieve no matter how long it takes. Like I explained to my brother, grief does not work on a timetable. Just don’t let it consume you because then it becomes destructive and I am sure that your dog wouldn’t want that for you.

        I also recommend reading. I bought several books that have been helping me.
        The first is Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet by Moira Anderson Allen. The second is There Is Eternal Life For Animals by Niki Behrikis Shanahan. The first book will give you lots of ways to cope. The second is for my spiritual belief that our pets who are capable of emotions have souls.

        You are correct PTSD is caused by any traumatic event. People in car accidents or other catastrophes suffer from it. Pet loss is no different. In this case it is the loss of a friend, companion, side-kick who provided me with unconditional love for 15 years (through 2 divorces, 4 moves, deaths in the family, career ups & downs, etc.). The way it transpired will forever be with me. I hope to learn from it.

        I won’t lie to you. I’m still having a difficult time and occasionally need to excuse myself to a quiet spot for a cry. I’ve lost 10 pounds and eat sparingly. Since she always slept with me sleep does not come easily without meds.
        Focusing on all the love she gave me over the years helps soften the pain of the loss.

        I don’t know what else to say for the awful situation you are in. I hope something, anything I’ve written here can help you prepare for what is to come.
        Do remember that you too are not alone and that my thoughts and sympathy go out to you too. Hugs…

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