Loss and bereavement is not only a human condition, it exists in the animal world. Sometimes when an animals human carer or their animal companion has seemingly disappeared from their life, they too can suffer loss and bereavement.
When our beloved animals become older or chronically ill, our hearts become heavy with emotion.
At the time of introducing a new animal friend into our lives we commit ourselves to a life long relationship with them. As time passes, there comes a realisation that our journey with our beloved animal friend is coming to a close; and for many of us the grieving process begins then.
If your animal’s behaviour has changed your vet should always be the first person to call, they have the expertise and knowledge to guide you at this time.
It can help if we have someone to talk things through with during these difficult times. This may relieve some of the stress you and your animal friend may be experiencing.
Whilst not a counsellor, I am a member of the Healing Animals Organisation. We believe in helping animals and their carers at all stages of the animals life. Our bereavement healing is designed to be a complementary and professional support to the veterinary fraternity, to your animal, and to you and your family at this time. The healing promotes calm and relaxation.
Hippocrates tells us “The soul is the same in all living creatures although the body of each is different”.
Just as with humans the grieving process for each animal varies. Some of the symptoms of a grieving and mourning animal include - absence of play, less social interaction, increased daytime sleeping, coarsening of fur, moping; lack of energy, loss of sparkle in eyes, closed body language, loss of interest in food and eating and weight loss.
The grieving process can be affected or prolonged if the animals loved one is missing but, their death has not been verified.
Loss and bereavement in animals has been noted for some time.
Charles Darwin was one of the first people to note how animals share similar expressions to us including sorrow and grief.
In 1966, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals conducted a project entitled “Companion Animal Mourning”.
Animal healing is offered as a complementary and professional support to the veterinary fraternity. It promotes calm, peace and deep relaxation.
Jennifer is a registered member of the Healing Animals Organisation (HAO).