Pet Bereavement Counselling

A place to talk in confidence and be heard

Counselling for individuals available online or by phone, face to face session are available for those local to Chester. I also offer the option of a 'walk & talk' session within the Cheshire counstryside.

Support for individuals experiencing the loss of a beloved pet or if you are anticipating the loss of a pet.

Why am I offering Pet Bereavement Counselling?

My animals mean the world to me. They have given me so much and have been there for me during some of the most challenging times in my life. Their presence in the house provides me with companionship and comfort. However, losing them is one of life's most painful experiences. I know this all too well, having faced difficult decisions and said heart-wrenching goodbyes.

There have been times when people did not understand my grief, leaving me feeling isolated and alone. I do not want others to feel this way.

For my master's research, I chose to focus on pet bereavement and how counselling can help support individuals through their loss. I also aimed to raise awareness among professionals about the importance of providing pet bereavement support.

I am passionate about offering support to those in need and am committed to continually developing my expertise and knowledge in this field to provide the best support possible to pet owners.

"We should never underestimate the powerful draw of a bond with a being that loves us unconditionally, asking very little in return. Losing this comfort and source of joy can be incomprehensible." Linda Lipshutz

Who can I talk to about my pet dying?

How do you support clients who are grieving over the loss of a pet?

As a person-centred qualified counsellor I can be that person. I am going to be right by your side as you process the loss of your pet. Offering you a supportive, non-judgemental, and empathetic space.

As with any bereavement it is important for you to have someone to talk to who does understand exactly how you are feeling and what the loss of your pet has meant to you.

In addition, to my counselling approach, we can also take some time to answer any specific questions you may have surrounding the loss of your animal should this be something you need.

Sometimes when dealing with the loss of your pet, other feelings associated from other events or memories may arise unexpectedly. As a qualified counsellor you can feel safe to explore and reflect on these should you choose to.

“Our animal friends teach us more than we could have expected, and love us more than we could have hoped. That’s why we miss them more than we could have imagined.” – Unknown

Why does losing a pet hurt so much?

Through my research and discussions with pet owners, it's evident that people experience profound grief over the loss of their animals, often for longer periods than anticipated. Many feel isolated in their grief, hesitant to share it for fear of judgement or because they lack avenues for support.

How long does grief last? Society tends to downplay this grief, expecting it to diminish quickly, yet research indicates that mourning for our animal companions can persist for months or even years.

For my dissertation, I explored the importance of integrating pet loss into counselling services. I delved into the human-animal bond, our emotional attachment to pets, and the benefits they bring to our lives. I also examined the impact of grief, its duration, and the concept of disenfranchised grief—feeling marginalized in our mourning process. Additionally, I investigated methods for maintaining bonds, circumstances surrounding pet loss, and the role of counselling in providing grief support. (Photo credit: Morar)

Frequently asked questions

What can I expect from our sessions together?

Our sessions provide a safe and supportive space for you to process your feelings of grief and loss after the passing of your beloved pet. During these sessions, we will work together to explore and understand the unique bond you shared with your pet, as well as the impact of their absence on your daily life. I can help you navigate the complex emotions that come with pet loss, offering guidance and coping strategies to support you through this difficult time. I provide a non-judgemental environment where you can express your feelings openly and freely, and I will tailor my approach to meet your individual needs and preferences. Our sessions are centered around empathy, understanding, and healing, and I am committed to walking alongside you as you journey through the process of grieving the loss of your pet.

Do you have experience of your own pet loss?

Yes, I have have experienced my own pet loss. I understand the deep sense of grief and emotional pain that comes with losing a beloved pet. My personal experiences influence the way I provide support and guidance to you during your difficult time. I understand the unique bond between humans and their pets and I am committed to helping individuals navigate their grief in a healthy and healing manner. My personal experiences allow me to offer genuine empathy and understanding to you. I am here to provide a safe space for you to express your emotions and process your grief in a healthy way.

How soon after the loss can I contact you for counselling?

You can make contact with me whenever you feel ready. However, during the initial days and weeks following your loss, it's common to experience intense emotions, shock, and even denial. This period marks the early stages of the grieving process. Many people find it helpful to wait a couple of weeks before seeking support, as they may feel more prepared to discuss and share their feelings and emotions at that time.

What are your qualifications?

I am a fully qualified person centred counsellor and registered member of the BACP. I underwent extensive training over three years which included a clinical placement and hour requirement. As a member of the BACP I follow their ethical framework, have monthly supervision and take part in regular CPD. My research dissertation which was awarded a distinction looked specifically at pet loss and the role of counselling to support a person through their grief. I continue to learn, research and I am working towards further qualifications relating to the loss of a companion animal. I am a registered member of the association of pet bereavement counsellors. I have studied grief and bereavement extensively and have a lot of experience working with clients in their grief.

What can I share in the session? What type of questions do people ask?

As a person centred counsellor the sessions are always about you. I will never direct or push you, I will be there with you, move and stay close to what you are experiencing. You will have a space to expresss your emotions and feelings. You may be feeling guilt over the decision to euthanise and that can be explored within the room. You may feel responsible and struggling to forgive yourself. The loss may have been traumatic and you may need to process that. Suddenly you may be alone and struggling with the lack of your routine, the missing presence of your companion in your home. We can explore all of that and whatever else that is causing you discomfort and difficulties. Often other things come up that you were not expecting, I am fully qualified and able to support you with that.

I have specific questions relating to losing my pet, can you answer them?

You may have specific questions relating to the loss of your animal, such as: Where can I bury my companion animal? What about my other animals, will they be affected too from the loss? How do I tell my children? When do I get my pet's ashes back, what can I expect? In additon to my counselling approach, we can take time to look at whatever you feel you need a direct explanation or answer for.

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