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Dog Bereavement - How To Prepare

Jay Gurden
“… In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” This quote comes from a letter written by Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the USA. While the taxes part of the quote might not be relevant to our canine family members, sadly the death part is all too certain, and always feels like it comes too soon. Some people do not realise the depth of grief that they might feel on losing a dog, and this is where pet bereavement courses can be very useful.

Over the thousands of years that humans and canines have lived alongside each other, our relationships have largely changed. Many dogs are no longer kept with a specific working purpose in mind, but as our friends and companions, members of our families rather than tools for a purpose. Some fulfil both criteria, working as herding dogs, sniffer dogs, police dogs among other careers, and cuddle up on the sofa in front of the television in the evenings. Little wonder then that their loss affects us massively when we have to say goodbye. Although thinking about the subject in advance is something many of us try to avoid, a pet bereavement course can help us to prepare and be a little more ready for the reality of the situation.

Grief is a complicated process, and varies from person to person. Over the course of the entire experience, there are a number of stages that we go through, but the actual experience, how long each stage lasts, whether we go back and forth through the stages before the process is complete, all vary from person to person. The experience of grieving is as individual as we are. A pet bereavement course can aid us by describing the stages of the grieving process, and reassuring that that raw, all consuming feeling from the early stages will mellow with time. We do not stop feeling their loss but as we work through the stages, the feeling starts to lose its sharpness and we begin to realise that we can survive this.

As canine professionals, it is not only the canine members of our own families that will be lost over time, but those of clients as well. A well-structured pet bereavement course will not only help us understand how grief occurs and progresses, but also equip us to aid our human clients to understand and move through grieving when they lose a dog.

Canine Principles offers the Emotional Intelligence for Dog Professionals course. The course is not just a pet bereavement course, it contains much more than that, including modules concerning psychology, mindfulness and the art of successful communication. The module on dog loss is an excellent example of a pet bereavement course, full of useful information to aid in navigating an emotionally difficult time, whether for ourselves or for clients from assessing quality of life, through to the grief process itself, and how to support others moving through it

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