Pet Bereavement Update

Pet bereavement is very often an overlooked area of grief – one that can be belittled and mocked leading to it becoming disenfranchised grief, resulting in the sufferer feeling isolated, alone and misunderstood. We acknowledge that not everyone feels as strongly about companion animals as we do, but most people understand and have experienced grief in one way or another.

By relating general grief experiences to those of the grieving pet owner, SCAS is working with Scottish based charity Fostering Compassion to help encourage compassion and empathy towards people going through this painful loss. We are doing this through the creation of their special Pet Bereavement resources working to create more compassionate workplaces, classrooms, homes and care homes. 

In the last newsletter, we brought you details of the first of these resources entitled ‘Creating Compassionate Workplaces – a guide for Employers‘. We now bring you news of the second in this series of resources entitled ‘Creating Compassionate Classrooms’ which offers guidance for teachers dealing with children going through pet loss.  Children suffering from the loss of or separation from a companion animal may act out or be disruptive and angry in the classroom due to their bereavement, likewise they may become withdrawn – all responses likely to impact their schoolwork. A child may also feel guilt, thinking that something they said or did contributed to the animal’s death or rehoming. Our ‘Creating Compassionate Classrooms’ resource gives age appropriate guidance to teachers on supporting children through their loss. SCAS and Fostering Compassion are working on additional resources on the area of Pet Bereavement which we will be bringing to you over the next few months.

Lesley Winton, SCAS Trustee and CEO of Fostering Compassion, is on a speaker panel for Pet Bereavement as part of the Good Grief Festival of Love and Loss taking place online between October 30th – November 1st 2020.  The Festival brings together speakers, film screenings, exhibitions, workshops to help people learn about grief. It is free to attend and you can read more about and register for the Pet Bereavement event here

Those who have endured the loss of a much-loved companion animal will understand the pain only too well. However, those who have not experienced this form of grief, may find it hard to comprehend. Research demonstrates that the loss of a pet can have as much impact as the loss of a close human relative. We hope our resources will help raise awareness of how difficult this kind of loss can be.

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