Madonna Hooper

Firstly, if you are reading this due to the loss of your special friend my heart goes out to you.  I believe pet-friends, regardless of their species or size, are pieces of heaven.  They have a special ability to show us love, and bring out the love within us. They become part of who we are and vice versa. It’s a match made in heaven.

 

I am currently owned by two-hand tamed lovebirds, Paddington and Yogi, and two budgies, Moe and Captain Jack Sparrow.  I’m not sure how it happened but over the last five years I’ve become a “crazy bird lady.” I love these little dudes so much I can’t even describe it.

 

I have experienced both kindness and harshness when dealing with the loss of my feathered kids (FIDS).  Acts of kindness are like a soothing balm for the soul, whilst judgment can be like a splinter in an already wounded heart.  I GET IT!! It hurts to lose your pet-friend. You can feel like you’re lost in the middle of the ocean.  The loss, combined with the fact that many people label your heartbreak as “silly” or an “over-reaction” can lead to isolation and guilt, further compounding your grief.

 

I am a trauma-informed therapist and have done several courses with the Blue Knot Foundation.  I also have degrees in Behavioural Science and Sociology.  I currently work part-time as a trauma therapist with adults who were abused in institutions as children, and I also counsel adults and children who are victims of many serious types of crimes.

 

As well as my professional skill set and experience, I believe the most important assistance I can offer you is empathy, understanding, kindness and acceptance.  I sincerely believe, “People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.”

 

Sunset Vets Counselling

University of Queensland Psychology Clinic Program for Grief Support

In 2018, Sunset Vets and the University of Queensland Psychology Clinic established a partnership to help support clients through the initial stages of grief associated with the loss of an animal companion.

This program allows for anyone struggling with the loss of a pet to access complimentary services by professionally supervised, provisional psychologists who are undertaking advanced postgraduate study in Clinical Psychology.

This is a referral based program that supports clients with up to 90mins of one-on-one support, as well as access to further subsidised consultations through the Clinic if additional follow up care is required.

If you would like to apply for this support, please contact the Sunset Office

Please Note: We welcome referrals from other veterinarians across Australia. Please get in touch to find out how we can best support your clinic.

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.

Dr Vanessa Rohlf

Companion animals play an important role in our lives. They provide us with unconditional love, support and share our ups and downs. We consider them our family; our children, siblings, friends, and confidents. When this special bond is broken and our beloved pet dies, grief can be a painful yet very natural and necessary response to loss.

Sometimes grief can be overwhelming and during these times it can really help to talk to a professional who understands and appreciates the importance of the human-animal bond and the grief and trauma that can arise when we lose our companions.

Vanessa provides confidential and evidence based support for bereaved pet owners, volunteer and professional animal caregivers. She provides a warm and non-judgemental approach and will give you the safe place you need to tell your story.

She has a Bachelor of Arts with honours in Psychology, a PhD with a specialisation in psychology (human-animal interactions) and has worked in the animal industry for over 15 years where her roles varied from veterinary nurse to animal welfare researcher. She has lectured and tutored psychology and human behaviour for over 6 years and regularly presents her work at international and national conferences. Vanessa values the importance of ongoing professional development and has also achieved her training as a compassion fatigue specialist (therapist), mindfulness trainer, certificate in animal bereavement and is a member of the Anthrozoology Research Group.

Susan Wall

Having worked in the Pet Boarding Industry for over 22 years I have been exposed to many people who have shared their stories of loss of a much-loved pet over that journey. Some to accidental passing, illness, old age or have “gone missing”. The pain and grief of that loss can be hard to cope and recover from. I will support and work with you to understand those feelings and help you come to terms with that loss. I also have been a pet owner for all my life and understand the sadness and shock when you lose your much-loved pet and companion. I too have lost my best fur friend not so long ago after an 18 year journey together, the pain was heart wrenching.

Animal companion loss and grief is recognized professionally as a serious emotional condition that is often as difficult to cope with as the loss of any family member or friend and should not be left untreated.

The healing journey can begin with talking about the loss, acknowledging the passing of your pet. In saying this, the length of time it takes to accept that loss will vary from person to person. You can’t begin to cope with your emotions until you let them out.

It could be that you maybe are struggling to make the difficult choice of letting go a much-loved pet companion to avoid further suffering due to illness or old age. I can offer support in making the decision if it is the right time to euthanize and work with you on the pain, strain and guilt associated with that decision.

Please feel at ease to contact me for a consultation either by telephone or to arrange a face to face meeting.

Sajee Wijesena

Our pets become our best friends and companions and whether we are prepared or not for their loss it is always heart breaking ! It is like losing any member of the family.

I have lost two beautiful German Shepherds ( one only in February this year) in an untimely and tragic manner so I truly understand the grief, heartache and guilt that accompanies such a huge loss. It is very important to express your grief, and although the pain never really goes away, I can offer a kind, supportive ear to help you cope during this most difficult time.

I am available for counselling sessions either via phone/ Skype.

Please contact me for an Obligation free chat via email/ phone for more information.

No referral required.

Cynthia Haworth

I understand your Pet has been you best friend and part of the family, I am here to help with understanding and compassion.

Having owned many animals over the years, I understand how a companion animal can be very important, we consider them as family, and a special bond is broken when our beloved pet dies.
I owned a Labrador called Crystal who died of Cancer. I nursed Crystal to her final days. When she went over the rainbow to Doggy heaven. The hardest part was making the decision to have her put down and rest out of pain it was the hardest decision I have ever made. This is when I realized how she was like losing a daughter or son is was so painful. I truly understand the grief, heartache and the guilt that accompanies a huge loss.

Specializing in pet grief counselling to help other people just like you. TOGETHER WE WORKED TOGETHER. I have now rescued a Greyhound called Sirius, I understand we are all different and grief takes time, and Sirius was not to be a replacement. He has a very different personality to Crystal, but he has been a treasure, and good has come out of losing Crystal a Greyhound is rescued. There is a solution for you as you may not want to own another pet again we work together. I will provide you with support and guidance to make losing your beloved pet a little less painful.

You can give me a phone call on or SMS 0409005766 and together we will make an appointment that suits you. I have a beautiful appointed room at my house and also an outdoor area if you prefer to sit in my peaceful garden. I am available Tuesday 11am – 6pm and Wednesdays 11am – 6pm Saturdays 1pm to 4 pm.

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”

Beyond Blue

Grief is a natural response to loss. It might be the loss of a loved one, relationship, pregnancy, pet, job or way of life. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief is likely to be.

Everyone experiences grief differently. Some people may grieve for weeks and months, while others may describe their grief lasting for years.

Grief is something that takes time to work through. While everyone finds their own way to grieve it’s important to have the support of friends and family or someone else, and to talk about your loss when you need to.

Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.

Service Locations & Appointments

“We’re here for everyone in Australia – at work, home, school, university, online, and in communities across the country.” – Beyond Blue

The beyondblue Support Service provides advice and support via telephone 24/7 (just call 1300 22 4636), daily web chat (between 3pm–12am) and email (with a response provided within 24 hours).

Cost

The cost of getting medical or psychological treatment for anxiety, depression or a related condition from a health professional varies. However, in the same way you can get a Medicare benefit when you see a doctor, you can also get part or all of the consultation fee subsidised when you see certain mental health professionals for treatment of anxiety and depression. It is important to recognise that treatment doesn’t have to cost very much and can have lifelong benefits.

Read more: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/who-can-assist/getting-support-how-much-does-it-cost

24/7 Pet Loss Support hotline

Thanks to a Pets & People initiative, grieving animal lovers can now call a national hotline to be connected with a qualified and experienced counsellor who can help them cope with their loss.

Dr Michael O’Donoghue established the service so that people could call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and arrange to talk to a specialised pet loss counsellor about the loss of any kind of companion animal.

Location and Service Area

At the time of launch there were 10 service counsellors based across Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane – with the service continuing to expand and offer connections with more and more professionals. As of August 2018 the service now extends to New Zealand with a dedicated hotline established for local NZ callers.

Appointments

Calls are answered by a receptionist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and transferred to a suitable counsellor if there is one available on the line, otherwise the caller will be contacted by return phone within 24 hours.

Cost

The hotline is a toll free number, but once connected with professional, their counselling rates will vary according to the service provider. These charges will be discussed with the caller before proceeding. Dr Michael O’Donoghue has also curated a list of free and donation-based options on the Grief & Bereavement Support Services page.

 

Read more: Dr Michael O’Donoghue establishes Australia’s first Pet Loss Support hotline on 1300 431 450