Dinah Stern-Spiteri

From the time I became a counsellor, in 2002, I encountered many individuals with underlying issues in grief and loss – something, which if not attended to, can cause physical and mental ill- being.

We see counsellors for all sorts of things, but when we lose a beloved pet, and our heart is so totally broken, we try to deal with things in our own ways and often, alone.

When we lost our two precious ‘fur babies’ within nine months of each other, we were utterly devastated. Our grief went beyond words, and the ache I felt was so unbearable.

Other things that became issues in my life afterwards just compounded my feelings of passionate sadness and loss, and everything was just that little bit harder to get through. I spoke to friends who didn’t really ‘get it’, I spoke to family, who told me ‘you need to get over it and move on’; someone even told me to ‘get another dog and you’ll feel better’, as if I could just swap one for the others.

The loss, grief and oftentimes guilt we experience after losing a pet, a member of our family, is every bit as real as if we lose a human, yet we often hesitate to seek help in our grieving, because of a variety of reasons, one of them being that we don’t believe others see it as significant or legitimate.

As a counsellor in this field, I work from a person-centred, holistic approach – I walk alongside you, giving you a safe space in a confidential setting, that allows you to speak freely about your feelings, your pain and your (sometimes) anger. The grieving journey is different for everyone, and nobody can tell you the ‘right’ way to do it. However you walk this path, it takes time. It takes as long as it takes. Honour yourself and your pet and give yourself time, compassionately, to ride the waves as they come. As someone who has been through it, I know talking helps and I encourage you to reach out.

I work Tuesdays to Fridays and appointments can be made for face to face sessions from my practice in South Hobart, or phone sessions.

You can message me through my FaceBook page as well – “Pet Bereavement & Adjustment Counselling”