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Grief surrounding pet loss and euthanasia by Grace Harwood
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Grief surrounding pet loss and euthanasia by Grace Harwood

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  • ??Angry people – displaced angerDistressed people
  • Dad and Caleb
  • What does the child want?Staff – make it the best possible processFamilies/staff – explain what will happenRemember age appropriate responses – 8 year old boys are often much more interested I what will happen to the body once it is in the ground that the actual dying experience
  • Transcript

    • 1. Grief Surrounding Pet Loss and Euthanasia
      UQ Veterinary Student Association
    • 2. Grace Harwood
      BSoc Sc (Pastoral Counselling), BTh, MACA, MFPCQ, CCAA (Grad)
      Ipswich Hospice Care Inc
      Manager of Hilda’s House
      Bereavement Support – pre and post death
    • 3. What would you like to know?
      What would you like to walk away from this session with?
    • 4. Our own experiences:
      Have you had an animal die?
      When you think back to this time:
      What was helpful?
      What would you do differently?
    • 5. When you think about this topic, what worries or concerns you most?
    • 6. Euthanasing:
      When – When is the right time?
      Why – What is the owner’s motivation? How do we feel about it?
      Who – Who will be present? Do they understand the process? Will you be able to give them an opportunity to say goodbye?
      Where – Where and when will it take place? Where will the body go?
      How – How will it take place? How do we handle it? How do we negotiate payment?
    • 7. Loss and Grief
    • 8. Definitions
      LOSS:
      To be deprived of someone or something that holds great meaning.
      GRIEF:
      all the emotions and physical responses both surrounding and related to the loss
      BEREAVEMENT:
      The journey in which one experiences grief
      MOURNING:
      The outward expression of the loss we have experienced – eg rituals, clothing, candles, roadside signs etc
    • 9. Common Problems with Pet Loss
      Disenfranchised Grief
      This is the grief associated with a loss that is not:
      Openly acknowledged
      Publicly mourned
      Socially supported
    • 10. Common responses to grief
      FEELINGS
      Sadness
      Anger
      Guilt
      Anxiety
      Loneliness
      Yearning
      Fatigue
      Helplessness
      Shock
      Numbness
      Relief
      Depression
      Regret
      Abandonment
      BEHAVIOURS
      Sleep disturbance
      Over-activity
      Sighing
      Restlessness
      Absent-mindedness
      Appetite disturbance
      Social withdrawl
      Crying
      Dreams of the deceased
      Lack of concentration
      Regression
    • 11. Common responses to grief
      THOUGHTS
      Disbelief
      Confusion
      Pre-occupation
      Sense of presence
      Hallucinations
      PHYSICAL SENSATIONS
      Hollowness in the stomach
      Oversensitivity to noise
      Tightness in the chest and throat
      Dry mouth
      Weakness in muscles
      Fatigue
      Breathlessness
      Lack of energy
    • 12. Impact of Other Losses
      A previous significant loss can exacerbate the loss of a pet.
      The loss of a pet can involve secondary losses.
      Early losses in childhood are considered highly significant contributors to the likely success of the integration of later losses.
      Murray, 2006
    • 13. Children’s Grief
      Should children be present at euthanasing?
    • 14. Children’s Grief: What do they need?
      Reassurance
      Information and honest answers
      Patience and support
      Time to adjust
      Routines and stability
      Language which is understood
      People who accept and a place to express their emotions
      Adapted from Brown. 2001
    • 15. Hint: Avoid Euphemisms
      Snuffed out
      Kicked the bucket
      Gone to sleep
      Taken by Jesus
      Passed away/on
      Popped his clogs
      Crossed over
      Pushing up daisies
      Lost
      Gone to meet his maker
      Put him/her down
      Gone to the happy hunting ground
      ……
    • 16. What helps people who have lost a pet?
      Being listened to
      Being believed about their relationship with their pet
      Having their loss validated
      Having an opportunity to express the depth of their loss
      Opportunities to ritualise the loss
      Linking with others who have experienced similar losses
      Counselling/support
    • 17. Services you could provide:
      Sympathy card
      Referral to pet burial/cremation services
      Referral to counselling/support
      Brochures about Pet Loss and Grief
      ……
    • 18. Anything else…….

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