Grief is a universal and unavoidable experience for most of us. Considering it’s almost one of the few guarantees we have in a life that includes any kind of love, it’s amazing and sad how little it’s talked about and how isolated the grieving are left to feel, simply because people are so afraid of saying the wrong thing that they often don’t say anything at all.
This isolation and ‘foot in mouth disease’ is compounded when we’re talking about the loss of an animal friend.
For many of us, our furry, feathered and scaled companions are an integral part of our families and when we lose them we feel the pain acutely. Unfortunately, it’s not something that is readily or widely acknowledged and so our grief can get turned inwards and never completely heal.
Here at 12 Points Psychology, we’ve all been blessed to know many “soul-animals” over the years. You know, the dog, cat, rabbit, mouse, lizard or stick insect that found you at the right time in your life. The animal that became your friend, your companion, your touchstone and your confidante.
When I was 9-years old, that animal was Lucky. A stray black and white Tom cat who found me not long after my grandfather died. Lucky became my constant companion, he would follow me to the bus stop in the morning, sit with me, then turn and walk home once I was safely away.
He was a real gentleman and a fantastic judge of character, who chaperoned many teen dates over the years and was known to spray unsavoury suitors on occasion! Lucky survived two bouts with skin cancer to make it to a ripe old age and died after living a very loving and well-loved life, but 20 years on I still tear up thinking about him and his passing.
Anyone who has been lucky enough to have a relationship like this with a non-human creature, and then suffered the loss of this animal, knows the pain that loss can bring, even years later.
For this reason, we’re pleased to be able to offer a brand new service to our clients.
Anyone who has experienced the loss of a pet, either recently or in the more distant past and feels like they would benefit from some short-term counselling around this loss can call and take advantage of 1-3 sessions with one of our clinicians at a reduced rate. We hope this will provide access to a supportive and understanding service to help people process their loss and start their recovery.