Lesley Loughnan

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

Anatole France.

Hi. I’m Lesley and I have been a grief counsellor for over 20 years working with hundreds of people going though many different kinds of losses. If you are going though the loss of your beloved pet – as I have done recently – and resonate with my story and approach, I would love to work with you…

As a counsellor/psychotherapist, yoga teacher and long term Buddhist practitioner, I can’t help but incorporate a ‘bigger picture’ approach when working with with clients who are grieving. ie. an understanding of the impermanence of life, the great mystery of our brief, finite physical existence and whether that continues in some other way beyond physical death. I find dwelling in this mystery with others is one of the most profound things we can do together as human beings. I have encountered many, many people who are overwhelmed by their grief, and often don’t have safe places or people with whom they can share these feelings. Many of these feel their beloved one around them, and even have experiences of contact beyond death, but these experiences are difficult both to share with others and to understand for ourselves.

I recently lost my beloved cat, Asha. ‘Asha’ means ‘hope’ in Hindi and he indeed brought hope and joy into my life. He was a spirited and loving daily companion and was with me for 16 years. I miss the relationship between us every day. I miss the essence of him, the physical comfort of his presence, his quirky ways, and the very real expressions of affection and love between us. He made my house a home and it feels empty without him. He was often my co- therapist, sitting beside many of my clients in their sadness, and (usually!) available for cuddles. I spent most of his life trying to keep him alive and happy and well, from his days as a wild and wayward kitten right up to becoming an elderly cat with arthritis, kidney disease and lymphoma. The sudden end to all that loving care and attention can be overwhelming. It has struck me that the expression “grief is just love with nowhere to go” is very true…

In working through my own loss, I have been reflecting on how unacknowledged losing a pet often is in our society, and hence here I am  wanting to help others going through this experience. In our world, there are some precious people who “get” how enormous our grief for our animals is. Unfortunately there are many who don’t, and this can add significantly to the loneliness and isolation that can sometimes come with grieving our beloved companions…

Occasionally, losing a pet comes as a sudden and traumatic event which adds an enormous dimension to the depth of our grieving process. All the latest research on working with trauma – known as poly-vagal theory – points to working with physical therapies alongside counselling to help change arousal patterns in the body and mind. I have been using somatic (physical) approaches with my clients who have suffered trauma with much success, such as tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) and many of the traditional yogic breathing and deep relaxation practices, and have found these to be very successful in conjunction with deeply empathetic counselling…

I’d love to talk to you if you are going through a difficult time over the loss of your beloved one…

Lesley Loughnan with her cat Asha
Tabatha Lane

My name is Tabatha Lane I have genuine empathy when supporting people, through times of need I also have a love for animals since I was a child and I have always had a pet and I love providing animals with lots of TLC!  I have a pet dog, cat and snake.  Sadly, over the years I have had much loved pets pass away, so  I know the pain and tears that comes along with losing such a wonderful family member and best friend.
I have always had a passion for helping people and in the 1990’s I volunteered on the Pet Loss Grief Counselling Line, with The Australian Centre for Companion Animals In Society.

David Foote

Veterinarian

David graduated in 1980 from the University of Queensland and spent 20 years in private veterinary practice in Australia and the United Kingdom before deciding to pursue a career in counselling and personal development. He worked initially in mixed practice then mostly in small animal practice. His special interests during his time in practice were emergency medicine, orthopaedics and dermatology.

Counsellor

From 1999 until 2001 David trained and worked in general and crisis counselling with Lifeline and also completed bereavement counselling training at the Bereavement Care Centre in Sydney. During his time in practice David noted the extreme difficulty and lack of support many clients experienced when trying to cope with the death of their pet. He also became aware of the difficulties many veterinarians, from new graduates to seasoned practitioners, experienced when trying to cope with the complex demands and stresses of practice life.

Karen Jaques

When I lost my 18 year old cattle dog, Lucy, even as a Grief Counselor myself, I needed someone to help me make sense of what I was thinking and feeling. My own grief put me on the path to help others in this area.

I found there were not many Counseling services in this area that came with formal qualifications in training and it was imperative to me that I found a course that reflected and supported my own way of thinking concerning pet loss. One that empathises, takes it very seriously and also incorporates some level of spirituality. On this quest I finally managed to find The APLB (Assoc.of Pet Loss and Bereavement) who offered a course that mirrored my way of thinking and also had a strict and high standard of excellence.

I am now one of only two Counselors in Australia that is certified in Pet Loss and Bereavement with APLB (Assoc. of Pet Loss and Bereavement) and am currently working in the APLB chat room as Assistant Host to the founder, Dr.Wallace Sife Ph.D. providing online counseling in this area. Dr.Wallace Sife Ph.D is also the author of “The Loss of a Pet” which is now in it’s 4th edition and has helped many people who have experienced the intense emotional roller coaster ride after loss a beloved companion animal.

The other area I specialise in is Carer Fatigue which impacts not only the carer of incapacitated, aged and/ or terminally ill pets but also on the other end of the spectrum, professionals such as Vets & Veterinary staff, Doctors & Nurses, SES and emergency services personnel etc.

After experiencing overwhelming grief with my own losses and the sometimes disconnect with family and friends that it can sometimes bring, that loneliness and feeling of overwhelming grief, my philosophy is believing that when you gain an understanding of what you are experiencing you can then move forward to find peace, resolution and healing….

I am here to help you on that journey…..

Vicky Nonas

I provide grief counselling and pet loss support for children through to adults from my business By My Side in Luddenham NSW.

My decision to enter the world of grief counselling/pet loss support was a personal one following the death of my dog, Boof. He came into my life when I was 15 and stayed with me until I was 38-years old. He lived and grew up with me by my side……he was my rock, my companion, my protector. I couldn’t have anticipated how much his loss would affect me. My world fell apart.

Our pets faithfully accompany us, providing loving comfort and unconditional support, so whether the loss is sudden or not our world shifts and we can find ourselves feeling completely lost. Grief for a pet can be just as deep as a loss of any family member.

Having lost my only siblings, two brothers and a dear friend to lung cancer to name a few losses in my life, I saw the opportunity to reinvent myself and now feel very blessed supporting others in their grief.
I also offer online counselling sessions for clients unable to travel and I am available to accompany people with their pets to vet appointments during terminal diagnosis in the local area to Luddenham/Penrith.

Diane Cooper

I have always wanted to help people, and after many years in the corporate world chose the path to counselling.

I have Bachelor and Master degrees in Counselling and Psychotherapy. I also have a private practice and work with a variety of issues ranging from Anxiety, Depression, Grief and Loss, Relationship issues, Stress, Domestic Violence and Drugs & Alcohol Abuse.

In my lifetime, I have had several dogs and cats and understand the devastation one feels when your beloved friend passes. I know what an important part of the family they are and what a support they can be. As part of my practice at Here to Help Therapy, I offer face to face, telephone & Skype counselling.