Losing an animal companion/pet is a unique and painful experience.
When I lost my beloved little dog Annie, I realised a few things about what was happening for me, and maybe for others
- As humans we are responsible for our animal companions. This makes losing them especially hard, and we may experience guilt, unanswered/unanswerable questions, a sense of failure and more.
- Many people around us do not understand the level of connection we had with our pet.
- We may hear from others, or even think in our own heads that “they were just an animal”.
- We may wonder if it is normal to feel such pain around the loss of a non-human. It might stop ourselves from talking to peeople about our pain, loss and experience out of fear for not being understood, or thought of as strange. Some cultures might make this especially hard.
- The medical care system for animals might not be available, as professional as it is for humans or afford the same level of care.
- Animals cannot speak human language and they cannot tell us what is wrong, or say goodbye in the way a person can.
All these things and more, can lead to challenges in the loss and process of grieving, letting go and living the life we have afterwards.
Weekly on Tuesdays from 15h00 to 16h00 (SA time) I host a support group online using Zoom, for people who are grieving the loss of their pet. The group is for sharing our experiences, recieving and giving support, and working through loss. There is no need to commit to attend every group, it works on a come-and-go basis. You are required to have your camera on for the meeting please. The meeting will be locked 5 minutes after starting.
Talking about and listening to others talk about loss and grief may bring up unique personal experiences of past trauma, grief and other psychological experiences. This is not a counselling service, and I am not a counsellor. I facilitate this personal discussion in a group format for people who need support for the loss of a non-human companion, to be heard, to share, and process loss. If you feel you need counselling, or that this group is likely to awaken past experiences which you have not learned to contain, or will not be able to contain, then I encourage you to seek the help of a professionally trained counsellor. If these experiences only become apparent in the group, it is my ethical and professional responsibility to name that as it arises and encourage you to seek another appropriate resource for support.
Use the scheduling service below to join the group. I ask US$5 for participation, payment through Wise (global) or Electronic Transfer (South Africa).