The bond shared by humans and their animals is indescribable. The grief resulting from their loss profound. What is it about these wet nosed and furry pawed creatures that touch us so deeply? Is it their ability to without words communicate genuineness and gratitude? Is it their ability to lower our inhibitions or perhaps their silliness that lifts our spirit?
I have the privilege to work along Minnie the therapy Yorkie. Her presence in client sessions is invaluable particularly when working with traumatized clients. As my pet, she brings me joy and laughter. She’s always there waiting at attention to see if I will toss the ball or play chase. She’s such a goofball, but don’t let her diminutive size fool you, she’s a terrier, a hunter and my guardian angel. Minnie is also my rainbow fur baby. Many years before her, I had Lolita a beautiful apple head tea cup chihuahua.
Lolita was my soul mate. When she died, a piece of me died too. Till this day when I talk about her my eyes well up. What made her so special was how empathic she was. When I was sad she was sad, when I was happy so was she. After her death I was unable to connect with any other dog and didn’t think I would have another as a pet, her loss and my grief were too deep. What made the difference as I grieved her was the support of understanding friends.
Many pet parents suffer the loss of a beloved pet alone and in silence due to the embarrassment of acknowledging the impact pets have in our lives. Many pets have long lifespans of over 20 years or more! The grief resulting from the loss of a pet is not to be taken lightly and it should be no cause for embarrassment.
Many pet parents schedule their day around their pets’ routines, we socialize, exercise and depend on them for assistance with medical issues and emotional issues. Other animals we form bonds with include service animals, dogs who are part of law enforcement, search and rescue teams and military dogs trained for special missions. There are even dogs who are companions for other wild animals to aid in the wild animal’s conservation. Their value and impact in our lives should not be underestimated.
Acknowledging the significance of the loss of your pet and its impact in your life moves you toward working through the grief. Finding supportive persons are not only sounding boards, they are often like-minded individuals who have mourned a pet and can direct you to resources to help fill the voids left by the loss. The following list compiled by Best Friends Animal Society has resources that may be helpful when dealing with pet loss. They include hotlines, support groups, websites, web pages, web articles and books.
If you are having issues with grief, anxiety, panic and depression, Minnie and I, are here to help. We at Central Counseling Services Murrieta, look forward to journey with you on your path to mental wellness. For appointments, I may be contacted at 951-778-0230. We are located at 29970 Technology Drive #116 Murrieta, CA 92563.
Susana Anaya-Baca, LCSW joined Central Counseling Services as a therapist in 2018. She is a graduate of California State University Long Beach School of Social Work where she earned her Master in Social Work with a concentration in older adults and families (OAF). She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW#69056) and is licensed to practice psychotherapy in California since 2015. She is fluent in Spanish.
Ms. Anaya-Baca has experience working with a wide range of individuals and settings. Prior to entering private practice, she practiced as a clinical medical social worker with individuals and families facing life-limiting illness in the area of home health, palliative care and hospice. Susana is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.
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All information, content, and material are for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not intended to recommend the self-management of health problems or wellness. It is not intended to endorse or recommend any particular type of medical treatment. Should any reader have any health care related questions, promptly call or consult your physician or healthcare provider. The information presented should not be used by any reader to disregard medical and/or health related advice or provide a basis to delay consultation with a physician or a qualified healthcare provider. You should not use any information presented to initiate use of dietary supplements, vitamins, herbal and nutritional products or homeopathic medicine, and other described products prior to consulting first with a physician or healthcare provider. Susana Anaya-Baca, LCSW disclaims any liability based on information provided.