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How do you deal with grief?

By: Dr. Jon Rappaport

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Our question this week was:

Hi Dr. Jon – My name is Sally – my daughter lost her cat about 2 months ago and she is...inconsolable. It sounds strange but she has even talked about suicide because she misses her cat molly so much. Do you have any advice.

Sally.


Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. Sally – I'm very sorry to hear about your daughter. Grief is a funny thing – it can really affect some people in different ways. It is really hard to loose a beloved pet. I know that from personal experience. I've seen clients have similar reactions to your daughter.

When someone states they are considering suicide – I take that VERY seriously. It is a cry for help. I'd rather not tell you little things to do or say...I'd recommend that you get her professional help.

You can call a local counselor or contact some grief hotlines to find out your first step.

Below are some numbers as well as some websites that might be helpful.

  • ASPCA Grief Counseling. 212-876-7700 ext. 4355; pager 800-946-4646, PIN 1407211

  • Iams Pet Loss Support Center. 888-332-7738 (Monday-Saturday 8am-8pm)

  • Pet Loss Support Hotline at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. 1-800- 565-1526.
    http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/petloss/index.htm

  • Pet Loss and Human Bereavement Education Program at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. 1-614.292.1823

  • Pet Loss Support Hotline-Staffed by Tufts University veterinary. 508-839-7966 studentshttp://www.tufts.edu/vet/petloss

  • Iowa State University Pet-Loss Support Hotline. 888-478-7574 http://www.vetmed.iastate.edu/animals/petloss

  • Pet Loss Support Hotline, Cornell University. 607-253-3932 http://web.vet.cornell.edu/public/petloss

  • University of Florida Pet Loss Support Hotline. 352-392-4700 ext. 4080 (calls returned 7:00-9:00 pm) http://www.vetmed.ufl.edu/vmth/companions.htm

  • Websites
    • www.aplb.org (Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement)
    • www.alln.org (Pet Love & Loss Network)
    • www.pet-loss.net

    An article that might be helpful to you is Coping with Pet Loss.

    In addition, some books that might be helpful include:

  • Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet, Moira Anderson, Peregrine Press, Colorado 1991. Chapter 5: "The Final Decision."

  • When Your Pet Dies: How to Cope with Your Feelings, Jamie Quackenbush, Simon & Schuster, New York 1985, Chapter 3: "Your Reactions to Choosing Euthanasia."

  • Pet Loss: A Thoughtful Guide for Adults & Children, Herbert Neiburg and Arlene Fischer, Harper & Row, New York 1982.


    Best of luck!


    Dr. Jon


    P.S. Do any of your pet lovers have any other suggestions for helping someone deal with pet loss?






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