Madonna Hooper

MY PET PASSED AWAY AND I’M HEARTBROKEN

I believe friends, confidantes, soul mates and best friends come in all shapes, sizes and forms, including the form of a pet. It makes perfect sense you will be heartbroken when your best friend is no longer with you.

I provide grief counselling specifically for pet owners. Pet owners experience what is known as “disenfranchised grief,” i.e. grief that is not recognised or validated by society.

Many people tell me they loved their pet more than any person on earth. It makes sense that losing this type of pure, soulful, connection will be incredibly painful.

MY PET IS UNWELL AND I’M FREAKING OUT!

Having an unwell pet, whether it is short or long-term, can be heart-wrenching, stressful, confusing and lonely. If you are anything like me it’s impossible to focus on anything else until you have a diagnosis and treatment plan (if treatment is a viable option).

Your pet may be undergoing extensive treatment for an ongoing illness, having surgery, or require ongoing vet visits. These situations take their toll, mentally, physically and emotionally.

I am available for counselling regarding these issues and anything else related to your pet’s health care where you may need emotional and psychological support. It can be incredibly helpful having someone listen to your concerns, fears, doubts and uncertainties at these times.

“I BELIEVE PETS PROVIDE THE MOST UNCONDITIONAL LOVE WE EXPERIENCE ON EARTH”
(Madonna, Bee Yourself Counselling)

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.

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 confidants. 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.

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

I have a Bachelor of Arts with honours in Psychology, a Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy, and a Ph.D. with a specialisation in psychology (human-animal interactions). I have worked in the animal industry for over 20 years where my roles varied from veterinary nurse to animal welfare researcher. I have lectured and tutored psychology and human behaviour for over 7 years and, as a research fellow in the area of human-animal relationships, burnout, and compassion fatigue at La Trobe University, I regularly present my work at international and national conferences and publish in peer-reviewed journals.

I value the importance of ongoing professional development and have also achieved my training as a compassion fatigue specialist (therapist), mindfulness trainer, and have a certificate in animal bereavement. I am a member of the Anthrozoology Research Group, American Psychological Association, and a registered clinical counsellor with the Psychotherapists and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).

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 of 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 and Zoom.

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 your 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, it 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 call on, or SMS 0409005766 and together we will make an appointment that suits you. I have a beautifully appointed room at my house and also an outdoor area if you prefer to sit in my peaceful garden.

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

Lifeline Australia

Lifeline provides all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to online, phone and face-to-face crisis support and suicide prevention services.  13 11 14 is a confidential telephone crisis support service available 24/7 from a landline, payphone or mobile. Anyone across Australia experiencing a personal crisis can contact Lifeline.

Lifeline says: “Feelings of loss and grief can be experienced after we lose someone or something we care about like; the death of a loved one; loss of a relationship; loss of a pet; loss of a job; a change to your way of life; or loss of important possessions. The grief you experience in these instances is not an illness – it is a normal response to a life event that everyone must face at some point. It takes time to adjust and to learn to live our life without that person, thing or way of life.”

Read more at: Dealing with Loss & Grief

What happens when you call 13 11 14?

Our trained Telephone Crisis Supporters will answer your call and:

  • Listen to your situation
  • Provide immediate support
  • Assist to clarify options and choices available to you
  • Provide you with referral information for other services in your local area.

Your call will be answered as soon as possible by the next available crisis supporter. If your call isn’t answered straight away, it means we are experiencing high demand for our service and helping other Australians in need. Please stay on the line or call back later.

Call Costs

Most calls to 13 11 14 from a landline will be charged the cost of a local call, however additional charges may apply for some home phone plans. Calls to 13 11 14 from mobiles are free. This includes Pre-Paid and Post-Paid customers.

Other Services

Lifeline also uses instant messenger technology to offer real-time support for people who are overwhelmed and having difficulty coping. See more at: Crisis Support Chat Service

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement Counselling and Support Service, provides a Victorian statewide specialist bereavement service for individuals, children and families who need assistance following the death of a companion animal.  The service offers face-to-face bereavement counselling most of which is office-based, as well as bereavement support programs such as support groups, information resources and remembrance events.

Please note: The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement is not a crisis support service. In an emergency please call 000, or if you require urgent counselling, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Location and Service Area

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement Counselling and Support Service Melbourne office is located at 253 Wellington Road, Mulgrave, Victoria 3170.

Bereavement counselling is also available at a range of other locations across Melbourne. We also provide bereavement counselling to those outside of Melbourne who live in rural and regional Victoria through our telephone and online counselling service which uses high-quality videoconference technology. This provides a convenient, private and secure way of connecting with a bereavement practitioner from your home.

Cost or Contribution

A fee for service is a financial contribution payable by a client which in part meets the cost of the service received. The fee for service payable by the client is dependent upon the client’s income level. Exemptions from fee for service are provided for people from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, those receiving bushfire bereavement related services and those attending bereavement support groups. Those attending bereavement support groups are encouraged to make a donation to defray the cost of running the program.

 

For further information phone (03) 9265 2100 or go to www.grief.org.au

Bianca Lavorgna and Jackie Tarabay – Specialist Bereavement Counsellors