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ADEC Embraces Pet Loss


MartyT

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ADEC Embraces Pet Loss


As many of you may know, The Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) is the oldest interdisciplinary organization in the field of dying, death, and bereavement, and one of the most respected in the country, if not the entire world. ADEC works to promote excellence and recognize diversity in death education, care of the dying, grief counseling, and research in thanatology, so that professionals and lay people may be better able to meet the needs of those with whom they work. ADEC offers an opportunity for those of like interests to share knowledge and exchange ideas, with the goal to improve the way in which our society deals with grief, dying and death.

ADEC’s monthly newsletter, The Forum, brings news of upcoming events, articles by leaders, and information on current developments and trends in the field of death, dying, and bereavement. As a bereavement counselor who also works with bereaved animal lovers, I am gratified and pleased to report that the entire focus of the current issue of The Forum is on the topic of Pet Loss! Clearly this represents a significant movement toward something I’ve felt passionate about for a very long time: a greater understanding among mental health professionals that the loss of a cherished animal companion is a significant one, and certainly worthy of our attention as grief counselors. Animal lovers take heart! We are making progress!

To give you a sense of where ADEC is headed on this matter, I want to share with you the introduction to the April 2007 issue of The Forum, as written by Guest Editor Michelle Linn-Gust, MS:

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 opened the eyes of many Americans to the growing role of human-animal companionship as people in hurricane-ravaged areas refused to leave their homes without their beloved pets. Other people were separated from their pets and searched makeshift shelters for weeks looking for them. Consequently, policy changes are happening all across the country to allow people to be evacuated with their animals. This issue of The Forum focuses on that human-animal bond and how it relates to loss. A common theme that runs through each of these articles is that the role animals play in human lives has changed. We tackle a number of subjects in this issue starting with a historical perspective of the human-animal bond and how people who use their pets to help work through losses. We explore how people cope with pet loss throughout the developmental life stages, how to help people manage pet loss, how animal-assisted therapy can comfort dying people, and we look at the growing field of animal hospice. Finally, we offer one individual’s perspective on the experience of losing a pet, a family member. The time has come for a greater awareness of this topic [emphasis mine] and ADEC is on the forefront of that wave with this issue of The Forum.
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WOW! Now that's good news, Marty! I wish I could read the entire publication, though, front to back! (I noticed it's not posted yet on their website, probably because it's current and not archived)

In a similar vein, I just heard from the animal communicator I'd just taken a teleclass from, that in the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper, there was a recent article dealing with how insurance companies are finally starting to take furry family member's deaths seriously, and are working on the beginnings of offering bereavement leave for pet loss! She'll be including this article (good, since I couldn't find it online at the G&M) in our transcribed class notes, which I could pass onto you to post, if you like. (it will take a bit of time for them to get the entire transcription done, as it was a 6 wk. class)

And I was reminded in this class, that the animals, both here and on the Other Side, are really calling for humans to, shall we say, 'get up to speed' and provide them a voice and a deserved recognition in this world. So it seems the work they're all doing, both here and in the spirit world, is finally gaining ground and momentum, bless their furried, feathered and scaled little hearts! YEAH!! But they still need US to further all that on their behalf.

On a related note (just cuz I'm here anyway), I've also just finished 2 intensive wknd. seminars on a new-to-the-planet form of energy, light and information healing, and have already begun using this for not only myself, but for some animals, both known and unknown (this healing works by distance, too). I consider it a high honour and privilege to give something back to those who have blessed my world unlike anybody else. (although I'll use it for people, too, especially animals' people) You may have even heard of this new healing, since it's already been scientifically studied (and so far proven) and will continue to be studied by Dr. Gary Schwartz at the Laboratory For Advances and Consciousness and Health at the U. of Arizona. I plan on working towards using both animal communication and this form of healing/personal advancement (or enlightenment, as I like to think of it) to help as many animals as I possibly can over whatever time is left to me here. Now 'all' I have to do is learn more about 'hanging a shingle', which I suspect will be harder than learning the ACing! :rolleyes:

I AM still grieving quite heavily, though, through this all, just in case you were wondering....but I trust these new frequencies will help me heal in that area as well since they work on ALL levels and I've felt a definite shift since being immersed in them myself. But for now, the early summer weather/change in season, as well as the upcoming Mothers' Day.....is killing me.

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Thanks again, Marty! I finally got the time to read through it all ~ some good things in there.

I also checked into one of The Forum's author's (Susan Marino) Angel's Gate Hospice and Rehabilitation Center and have added my signature to the petition to save them (and all other types of animal rescuers/helpers) from closure by the apparently-illegal manoeuverings of their town council, who is trying their level best to shut down this important and vital service to dying and special needs animals. They're only about 300 signatures short of their goal of 10,000, so if anyone's interested in this precedent-setting lawsuit to help the animals, they can visit:

Angel's Gate site/petition The "sign the petition" link is provided at the top.

Hospice care for our animal family members is another service sorely needed by both them, and us, their caregivers. This is yet another issue that has only begun to be addressed in our society....and to find out that one of the very few formal settings that provides such care is under attack by a local government is more than disheartening! While many of us provide such care at home for our dying loved ones, it's another one of those disenfranchised areas of animal loss that needs rectifying, as we, the fur-parents, don't receive much, if any, support in order to lend more care to our beloved ones, though we're doing the same work as do others for their human loved ones who are dying. In this respect, I think those who go this extra mile for their animal companions end up even MORE stressed than our counterparts, who can access human hospice care and all the added support it can provide. And it's a further testament to not only our great love for our animals, but to the special inner strength and fortitude that animal lovers possess. We, and certainly people like Susan Marino, deserve medals, not attacks, by those who are so irrationally threatened by any rise in the status of our fellow brethren on this planet!

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My dear Maylissa, you are such a passionate advocate for all our precious animal companions, and once again, I thank you for bringing another important topic into the spotlight. :wub:

In case you (and others reading this) have not seen it, below is some relevant information that appears on the Announcements page of my Grief Healing Web site:

Treating a Pet Like a Family Member -

Right to the Very End

[from Last Acts Partnership E-Newsletter, June 2004]

It is far from uncommon for people to consider their pets beloved members of their families. And when these pets fall severely ill, owners want them to have the best care they can find during their final days. In that spirit, Colorado State University has started the nation's first student-run pet hospice care program in Fort Collins, CO. Kira, a 9-year-old black Lab mix with lung cancer, was the first patient. The program offers families a chance to bring their pets home and gives them a chance to say good-bye to their much-loved companions. The program is run through a veterinary teaching hospital, which also has a nationally renowned Animal Cancer Center, and specializes in providing emotional support to grieving pet owners. It hopefully will serve as a model that can be reproduced in other communities.

If you are interested in starting an animal hospice program in your own community or just want to brainstorm and share ideas and suggestions, you are encouraged to contact Rita Reynolds (animal lover, animal communicator and author of the beautiful book, Blessing the Bridge: What Animals Teach Us about Death, Dying and Beyond).

The hospice process and the gifts Rita offers when an animal companion is obviously moving into the dying process are described in her article, Animal Hospice. For updates and new information regarding animal hospice and after-death communication with animals, go to Rita's Web site, Blessing the Bridge or e-mail her at lajoieco1@aol.com.

See also Bittersweet Animal Hospice & Grief Recovery, the Nikki Hospice Foundation for Pets, and Angel's Gate, a residential, non-profit hospice care and rehabilitation center for animals "where special needs animals come to live out their days in peace, dignity and love."

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