• Deborah Ellis

Puppies are in demand. Working from home...

..can feel restricted, isolated, unconnected. But the upside of this for many is that more time spent at home means it's possible to transition into a responsible dog owner for the first time ever.

Pets bring out the nurturing side of us. Stroking and playing with a pet will boost a range of feel good hormones; Oxytocin, the attachment hormone, Serotonin a key hormone in mood stabilisation, physical well being and feelings of happiness. Cortisol the stress hormone is decreased and as a result blood pressure lowers. Dogs make us take exercise and that brings us into social contact with other people. Not surprising then that we develop a strong attachment bond with our pets and in return they give us their non judgemental love, loyalty and companionship. They're at our side for the good times and see us through the bad times. They quickly become part of our lives, turning our accommodation into our home, us into their pack. Dogs work hard at being our friend, the problem is that they have bad times too.

When the time comes saying a final goodbye to a pet, be it a dog, cat, rabbit, difficult and brings a range of emotions that can be unexpected and hard to share with others.

I didn't realise until recently that several animal charities can help owners come to terms with their bereavement through specially trained volunteers. Whilst important to point out that these are not counsellors and speaking to them will not be a counselling session, they are trained and knowledgable and compassionate people able to give a sympathetic listening ear to anyone feeling the deep sadness and loss of a pet. Our relationship with our animals is unique, and so it's not surprising that the experience of grief at their passing is also unique and can be a very lonely time. Memories of other significant loss, human loss, and especially a loss where emotions were swept to one side might reappear. If this starts to become an obstacle to your life perhaps bereavement counselling through an organisation such as Cruse Bereavement Care will be helpful.

The following organisations will help with animal bereavement.

The Blue Cross, 0800 096 6606,, runs a Pet Bereavement Service, as does Ally, People and Pet Loss; 01736 333334 Cats live an average life of 14 years so their loss can be felt in just as devastating way, also run a pet bereavement service.

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