For this week's talk, I would like to introduce the wonderful Wendy Andrew. She's the incredible lady behind The Scottish Pet Bereavement Counselling Service. Wendy wrote a very special book during the first lockdown to help pet parents through their grief of losing their companion animal.
Here she is to tell us a little bit more about it.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
My name is Wendy Andrew, I’m 45 and live in Glasgow with my dog Pixie the Pomchi. I’m also a professional dog walker with my own company, Croftfoot Canines.
How and why did you get started with pet bereavement counselling?
I studied pet bereavement counselling with The ISCP (The International School for Canine Psychology and Behaviour) after one of my client dogs swallowed some ibuprofen at home. This tragic accident almost killed her and I wanted to educate myself about pet bereavement so that I could support my clients in the right way when the time comes.
I soon realised that there was a need for this service in the wider community and so I founded The Scottish Pet Bereavement Counselling Service. I am currently working completely online and can therefore offer support to anyone anywhere.
What gave you the idea to write a book?
My dear friend Julie Leonard is a Life Coach in Germany and was planning to write her book, Intentional Happiness, and I was inspired to write my book How To Recover From Pet Loss – Supporting You On Your Journey To Acceptance. I knew that this would be an incredible way to reach out and support those who had suffered the loss of their companion animal. With so many people facing financial hardship and a lack of support from their usual network of family, friends & work colleagues due to the social restrictions, I felt this would be an effective low cost alternative to counselling.
What makes you do passionate about pet bereavement counselling?
Sadly as dog walkers we often lose client dogs to illness, old age and accidents. It’s heart breaking for us as we all love and care for our client dogs as if they were our own but at the same time have a professional and moral responsibility to be supportive to their grieving pet parents. I know from personal experience how distressing the death of a companion animal can be and I don’t want anyone to feel like they are alone, isolated or unsupported in their grief.
Of course, not all feelings of grief come from the death of a companion animal. Many experience the same emotions for a variety of reasons such as having to rehome a pet, a relationship breakdown and indeed the very worrying occurrence of theft. Every individual should know that support is available to them if they want or need it regardless of the circumstances.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
Yes, I have been a guest on several podcasts internationally already, The Authors Series on YouTube and have connected with others in the pet loss support industry. I’m on a mission to combat Disenfranchised Grief which is grief not acknowledged or supported in society which leaves those suffering feeling like their feelings are being invalidated or that they are overreacting in some way. By opening dialogue and talking about pet loss, it is my aim to educate society about the negative impact of phrases such as ‘it was just a cat’ or ‘will you get another dog?’. So I will take as many media opportunities and attend as many industry events as I can to get the word out there that grief caused by pet bereavement should be treated with the same compassion as any other type of grief.
What would be your number 1 top tip for dog owners?
My number 1 top tip would obviously be to read my book. As our pets reach the end of their natural life, it’s a useful tool to help prepare you for what emotions you might experience and to reassure you that what you are feeling is perfectly normal and justified given the Human Companion Animal Bond. The book also provides information on how to support children which is very useful for families and gives information on healthy coping strategies that I use with my clients.
And last but not least, how can people find you and your business? And where can we find you on the interwebs?
My interview with The Authors Series https://youtu.be/5SnR1A2_3lI
Link to my book: http://mybook.to/RecoverFromPetLoss
Pictures in this post kindly provided by Vera Cloe Zebrowska.