When people think of what it must be like to be a veterinarian, they often assume I play with puppies and kittens all day. While that might be true on rare occasions, the majority of my job is working with adult, senior, and geriatric dogs and cats. I mention this, because as a vet, I am witness to all stages of a pet’s life — birth through death. I am there when you first brought your puppy or kitten in, full of excitement, and I am there when you need to say goodbye to your furry companion, full of sadness.
As a veterinarian, my role in your pet’s healthcare ends when we say goodbye. But what of the aftercare of the grieving family left behind? Traditionally, I mourn with the family in the moments after the pet has passed and then, when they are ready, the family walks out my door, heads low. In the past, I was comforted by knowing that their pet was in a better place, at peace and no longer in pain, and that I had helped to make that happen. But since opening Passionate Paws, I have often wondered if there was more I could do for the families to help them beyond just saying goodbye.
Over the last year we have been excited to offer pet parents an aftercare resource that extends beyond my door and has helped heal families grieving over the loss of a furry family member. In partnership with Faithful Companion Pet Cremation Services, a pet grief support group is available to not only my clients but to any pet parent that is grieving. The group is led by a licensed therapist, specializing in bereavement. The group meets every third Tuesday of the month at the South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church at 8601 Bryant Farms Rd, Charlotte, NC 28277. The next meeting is June 18 at 7 p.m. To learn more, please visit www.petgriefgroup.com or call us at 704-256-7576.