Whether sudden or the result of a lengthy illness, the passing of a beloved animal companion may leave us overwhelmed with grief. I had no idea it would hurt this deeply. In fact, the loss of my beloved feline children, Pablo and Nellie, in 2008, exactly one month apart, took my breath away…followed by the death of Isabella several months later, I didn’t know where to turn for help with my grief. Fearing judgment, I grieved privately. This sense of isolation and the desire to connect with like minded individuals led me to create a support group for those grieving the death of beloved animal companions. From the the very first Beyond the Paw Print Pet Loss Support group meeting in March 2009, I have had the privilege of meeting hundreds of like minded individuals. As a result of attending BTPP meetings, attendees have learned that their grief is legitimate, and that reconciliation and healing are indeed possible. Beyond the Paw Print Productions, L.L.C. was created to achieve three important objectives.
The first objective of Beyond the Paw Print is to provide a support group for those grieving the loss or anticipated loss of their animal companions. Attendees will find their experiences and feelings validated in a safe and supportive environment. Please see the Support Group page of this website for further details. Please visit the Resource page and find a list of websites and a variety of book titles on grief, healing and reconciliation.
The second objective for creating Beyond The Paw Print is to dialogue with Veterinary hospital clinicians and staff about the pet loss process and the needs of grieving clients. Through my own pet loss experience, I discovered a gap existed in otherwise excellent veterinary care. This gap impacted grieving clients – some of whom seek support and validation… Beyond the Paw Print. As a result, I developed a training program for Veterinary clinicians to better assess and serve their pet loss clients. Please visit the In-Service page for further details.
In addition, I learned that clients are not the only ones experiencing grief over their animal companions. Veterinary professionals experience distress and grief associated with end of life patients and euthanasia. These emotions are often stifled. Please visit the Vet Professional page for information about on-site support group sessions.
The third objective is to provide emotional and spiritual support for the client grieving the loss or anticipated loss of a beloved animal companion. In my role as a human hospital chaplain, I realized the need veterinary hospital chaplaincy is equally important. Please visit the Vet Chaplaincy page for more details.