Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided information about the risk of your pets getting COVID-19 and guidance for minimizing risk to your pets.
Even though we all want the COVID-19 pandemic to be over, Ann believes we still must be cautious. Ann is providing in-person dog training and consultation on a limited basis.
PLEASE NOTE: As of January 1, 2022, my psychotherapy practice is now closed. This means I am no longer taking psychotherapy clients or billing insurance.
Grief and Loss
Loss affects us all throughout our lives in many ways. We grieve many losses, not just deaths and not just of humans. Working through grief is one of the hardest things we experience in our lives. There is a reason why it is called work – it is hard! And it does not proceed in a straight line. But it is not impossible.
Grief counseling can help you understand what is normal and what is not. It can help you survive the difficult moments and rejoice with each step of healing. It can help you make it when you’re not sure you’re able. You have the right to choose a therapist who understands your needs and works toward your needs and purposes. You have a right to know about the kind of counseling a therapist offers in order to choose a therapist you think you can work with effectively.
Companion Animal Loss and Bereavement
Our animal friends enrich our lives in countless ways, in ways we have no words to express. What then could be more natural than to feel their absence acutely and to grieve their death?
However, family and friends may not understand your feelings. Not all counselors understand the depth of grief we can experience after the death of a companion animal. Friends, family, and even counselors may say things that lead you to believe they think you should be “over it” or that it is unreasonable to feel so strongly about “just” an animal. They may tell you to go get another animal. Or they may surprise you with the gift of a new animal.
No matter how well meaning they are, these comments and actions minimize your experience and can actually make your grief worse.
Healing within grief can be made easier if you know what to expect and can share your feelings with others who have gone through similar experiences. This is what happens in grief therapy. Effective grief therapy does not discount your emotions about your animal companion. Instead, it honors your feelings and helps you to work through your grief to a new place of healing.
Pet Loss Resources
Here are a few resources that may be helpful to you:
PetLoss – this website is entirely devoted to coping with the loss of a companion animal. It includes articles, songs, and links to other sites: https://www.petloss.com/
Here is another website (similar name to the one above, but different) entirely devoted to coping with the loss of a companion animal. They include a link to pet loss hotlines, counselors, and groups: https://www.pet-loss.net/
Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement – this is another comprehensive website. They include a directory of counselors who deal with pet loss: https://www.aplb.org/
HealGrief – this link goes to a page specifically about pet memorials: https://healgrief.org/pets-count-too/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAxc6PBhCEARIsAH8Hff3rOrPF6D8OVrCIEshaC6WEQhcPEnX8bWFUut2pZqi0YIArbLWqxrEaAl2_EALw_wcB
American Humane – this link is entitled activities for grieving children, yet the activities can be helpful for humans of any age. https://www.americanhumane.org/fact-sheet/activities-for-grieving-children/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc&gclid=Cj0KCQiAxc6PBhCEARIsAH8Hff3CYuR9ynxllqle4hgNSVxw6SQ1l3W6vgRAiozMeLqoSL3k6nGpkAAaAugLEALw_wcB
Psychology Today – this is a link to an article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animal-attachment/201702/four-steps-take-after-experiencing-pet-loss
Your insurance company may have a list of psychotherapists who are included in their network, and www.PsychologyToday.com provides a searchable directory of psychotherapists. As already mentioned, some therapists understand the dynamics of companion animal grief, and some do not. You are wise to ask about that before scheduling time with someone.