In this series of the Behaviour Sleuths we investigate pet loss. If you have experienced pet loss or may be preparing to lose a pet, please join us to discuss research, personal experiences and resources.

Episode 1
In this first episode join us as Monica shares research about attachment / loss and Sala shares her story of pet loss.

 

Episode 2
In this episode, Vivien shares her personal story of pet loss. We discuss different ways in which pet parents may seek to remember their lost pet and different ideas about what may help. We acknowledge that we all grieve differently. If you are grieving, giving yourself space and time to grieve in your own way is important.

 

Episode 3
In the last episode we talk about some of the resources that are available to help deal with pet loss in different ways.

 

The factors that make pet loss so difficult include: connection, attachment a stronger bond during life – stronger continuing bond = greater grief. If you are not surrounded with people who can support you and validate your grief consider finding support through a professional or in some of the ways below.

Adopt a flexibility mindset – Optimism, ability to see negative events as a challenge, and the confidence in your ability to cope. This can increase your actual ability to cope with what is happening.

Pet product companies – headstones, urns, memorial art pieces, shrines – help to maintain continuing bonds

Animal assisted therapy – helping another animal in a rescue organization or to adapt to their new home. You may not be ready to adopt, would you be ready to foster? or to help out?

Create music for your pet – see the Guardian article link below about commissioning music for your pet Write a gratitude letter to your pet – like Vivien did in Episode 2. Or even journal and write down all the funny stories you remember. Having these to look back on one day will bring a smile and not a tear.

Videos / photos – like Vivien who made a video to share with friends and family. Visit the website rainbow bridge – if you are ready.

All links and references to articles below:

The Rainbow Bridge

Every Dog Deserves a Musical Tribute The Guardian

Decoding Trauma: TC’s George Bonanno on 9/11, the Pandemic and How Flexibility is the Key to Survival

Field NP, Orsini L, Gavish R, Packman W. Role of attachment in response to pet loss. Death Stud. 2009 Apr;33(4):334-55. doi: 10.1080/07481180802705783. PMID: 19368063.

Volsche, Shelly. (2019). Pet Parents and the Loss of Attachment. 10.4324/9780429505201-5.

Compitus, Katherine. (2019). Traumatic Pet Loss and the Integration of Attachment-Based Animal Assisted Therapy. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. 29. 119-131. 10.1037/int0000143.

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If you feel like you need to talk to someone, then please do contact me to set up an online session via email info@doctormonicaborschel.com.

Although I am a registered clinical psychologist with the Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology, I am not a licensed psychologist or any other type of licensed therapist in the United States. The information I am providing here is educational and informational. This social media page does not provide professional advice, nor does it create a professional-client relationship or any other type of relationship between us. You should always consult your own licensed mental health professional before making any changes regarding your mental health. My goal is to educate, guide, consult, and empower you regarding your mental health journey. Always consult your licensed mental healthcare provider(s) and never disregard or delay medical advice based on information posted on this page or post.

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