The loss of a pet

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?

Minnie the Therapy Yorkie

Minnie the Therapy Yorkie

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.

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by Susana Anaya-Baca, LCSW

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.

If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately

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.

Having a ‘Scent’sual Valentine’s Day with Essential Oils!!


In addition to being a mental health therapist, I am also a Wellness Advocate for dōTERRA Essential Oils. Some of the blends that are mentioned in this article refer to oil blends that are produced by dōTERRA.

Essential oils have been used for millennia to enhance sensual pleasure. They are well known for improving sensuality and libido. Today, essential oils are used in perfumes and colognes to enhance sexual attraction. Oils can be used in a variety of ways to heighten one’s libido. Essential oils can be applied directly to the skin when combined with a carrier oil. They can be used as a lubricant, for a nice, relaxing massage, or used in an essential oil diffuser to inhale the scent of the oils to “set the mood” before intimacy. A diffuser is a device that is used to disperse the essential oil molecules into the air. Most diffusers are relatively inexpensive to purchase and can be found at many retailers.

When oils are applied to sensitive areas of the skin, they should be diluted with carrier oils (such as Almond Oil, Fractionated Coconut Oil, Shea Butter or Grape Seed Oil). When you apply essential oils to the skin, never touch the nose, eyes, ears, or mouth with the essential oil blend. Mucus membranes are very sensitive to direct contact from essential oils. If you accidentally get essential oils in your eye, you can use Fractionated Coconut Oil to dilute the essential oil.

When choosing essential oils that will be used topically, please be certain that the brand you choose is free from fillers or contaminants that can be harmful. Many brands that state that they are “pure” or “therapeutic” add fillers or synthetic materials to make their products less expensive. It is very important to know whether the oils you are using are of the highest grade and quality.

If you have sensitive skin, care should be taken when applying a new essential oil or oil blend. It is always advisable to perform a skin patch test on the inside of the forearm before using a new essential oil in the bedroom. Dilute the oil, apply to the forearm, and wait a day to see if there are any allergic reactions. (We don’t want any skin reactions on Valentine’s Day, right?!) Remember that essential oils are concentrated, so you only need a small amount to have a big impact.

Essential oils can be used topically to enhance the sexual experience. You can apply a couple of drops directly to the abdomen, the back of the neck, or when diluted with carrier oils, they can be used as a lubricant.

When using essential oils on sensitive areas, be sure you use a carrier oil to dilute the essential oils so that you avoid skin irritation. Some essential oils, such as Cinnamon or Peppermint can be more of a skin irritant when undiluted than others. When diluting an essential oil, try using 7 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of your carrier oil of choice, or 1-2 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil.

Essential oils can help with libido in several ways. They can be used to enhance sensation, improve mindset, reduce anxiety, and change body temperature. For example, Cinnamon, Clove, and some citrus oils, such as Bergamot or Wild Orange, create a warming sensation. Peppermint creates a cooling sensation. Rose helps to reduce anxious feelings and has traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac. For females, if libido is low because of hormonal changes, Clary Sage is often found to be helpful. Researchers have found that the “inhalation of Neroli oil helps relieve menopausal symptoms, increase sexual desire, and reduce blood pressure in postmenopausal women,” (Choi, SY, Kang, P., Lee, HS, & Seol, GH, 2014). 

Ylang Ylang is often used as an aphrodisiac for both men and women, and nearly everyone enjoys its soft, floral scent. Geranium is known for increasing circulation by enlarging capillaries. It is also excellent for reducing anxious feelings. Women often respond positively to using Citrus Oils such as Bergamot or a dōTERRA blend called Citrus Bliss to enhance pleasure. Men often find the warmth of cinnamon oil pleasurable. These essential oils can be used topically to create a warming sensation.

For many people, the everyday stressors of life can reduce libido. Essential oils can be used to assist with relaxation and to improve emotional well-being. The following libido boosting blend can be diffused, or diluted for topical application. Blend the following oils with the carrier oil of your choice to create a sensual massage blend or a natural lubricant.

  • 2 drops of Neroli (or Wild Orange)
  • 2 drops Jasmine
  • 2 drops Ylang Ylang

Feeling down or overwhelmed is another factor that can inhibit sexual desire. There are many essential oils that assist with mood. Frankincense and Wild Orange oils are great for lifting the mood so that libido can be sparked.

The following essential oils are known to be natural Aphrodisiacs. Make your own aphrodisiac blend with the scents that you like.

  •  Neroli
  •  Rose
  •  Ylang Ylang
  •  Geranium
  •  Clary Sage
  •  Rose
  •  Jasmine
  •  Bergamot
  •  Sandalwood
  •  Patchouli
  • Geranium
  •  Cinnamon
  •  Wild Orange
  • Clove
  •  Passion Emotional Blend (a dōTERRA blend) contains Fractionated Coconut Oil, Cardamom Seed, Cinnamon Bark, Ginger Rhizome, Clove Bud, Sandalwood, Jasmine, Vanilla Bean, and Damiana Leaf.

Damiana leaves have been used by indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America to boost sexual potency and as an aphrodisiac. Mayans, as well as other Central American people groups, used the Damiana herb to help improve female and male sexual dysfunction, decrease depression, and help with impotence problems.

Create your own blends. For a fun Valentine’s Day gift, you can try some of these suggestions.


Women’s Aphrodisiac Blend

  •   6 drops Ylang Ylang
  •  6 drops Neroli
  •  3 drops Rose
  •  3 drops Sandalwood
  •  1 oz. Fractionated Coconut Oil

Men’s Aphrodisiac Blend

  •  5 drops Ginger
  •  5 drops Ylang Ylang
  •  5 drops Black Pepper
  •  5 drops Helichrysum
  •  1 oz. Fractionated Coconut Oil

 Luscious Lubricant

  •   5 oz. African Shea Butter
  •  5 oz. Coconut Oil
  •  30 drops Peppermint
  •  30 drops Bergamot
  •  25 drops Cinnamon
  •  15 drops Lavender
  •  15 drops Helichrysum

Body Massage Butter

  •  ½ cup Coconut Oil
  •  ½ cup Unrefined Organic Shea Butter
  •  20 drops Ylang Ylang
  •  20 drops Geranium
  •  60 drops Bergamot
  •  40 drops Peppermint
  •  20 drops Clove

Please note: This post does not provide medical or counseling advice. If you’re experiencing significant problems related to sexuality, please talk with a physician or professional therapist. Sexual problems often stem from intimacy, attachment and other relationship issues that are best addressed with a comprehensive approach.

Lisa Tobler, LMFT sees a variety of individuals and couples in our Riverside Office. She helps people overcome intimacy and communication difficulties. You can get in touch with Lisa at 951-778-0230