Five questions your pet loss counselor should ask you
Pet loss can be devastating for you and your family, and it is perfectly normal for you to seek help from a professional pet loss counselor. When you are in physical pain, you visit a doctor for relief. So, too, when you are in psychic pain, you should visit a reputable pet loss counselor.
You should expect him/her to listen to you and be supportive of the pain that you carry with you. If s/he is dismissive–”it’s only a dog”–, then you need to find someone else, this is not the right pet loss counselor for you. You will find that being able to tell “your story” will help you immensely as you begin your journey to healing.
During your visit to the pet loss counselor, you should be prepared to answer questions about your pet loss. The following list is not exhaustive, but will certainly help you and your pet loss counselor begin a fruitful relationship with each other.
- What happened? Tell the story, start wherever you need to, you will know where that is, and let the details come out as they will. There is no wrong or right answer, it all depends on your telling the story of your beloved pet.
- Are there any other recent losses in your life? In addition to your pet, has anyone in your family taken seriously ill, been hospitalized or died? This will let the counselor know that you are mourning multiple losses. It matters, trust me…
- What did your pet represent to you? Best friend? Confidant? Most trusted member of your family? Why is this pet so hard for you to lose? Is there anyone in your life who can be for you what your pet was…
- How are you coping with your grief? What changes in your life have you noticed..are you eating less or more than normal, not sleeping well, getting angry at yourself or others? These are all normal responses to loss, the pet loss counselor needs to know as much as you can tell them.
- Are you feeling guilty about all this? Do you think you did something, or did not do something, that may have affected the outcome? Tell your counselor as much as you can, you will begin to feel better and s/he will be better able to help you heal.
There will be some pain in all this, but you will come out the other side.