Six months ago I lost my beloved pet. Over the past several weeks I've been struggling to deal with the sad parts of my job. I can work a double shift and deal with angry clients, but I still can't room a euthanasia appointment. It seems like I'm always on the verge of tears.
"I'm sorry you're going through such a hard time," says Sharon DeNayer, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and the practice manager at Windsor Veterinary Clinic P.C. in Windsor, Colo. "It sounds like this pet was your very special pet, and I can certainly relate to that. I have had a difficult time since our dog, Farrah, died, as she was my special angel. We became particularly close when I was sick a year and a half ago. Even though I was surrounded by our other animals after Farrah died, and even though I am closely bonded with all of them, I've still felt a real emptiness without Farrah. The pain is still there, although it has softened over time."
Sharon DeNayer suggests these resources:
It's hard enough working through your own grief, but it can be much harder when you're also grieving for those patients and clients you've been close to, DeNayer says. Many super staff members leave the veterinary profession for this very reason. "You may need a little sabbatical from your position," DeNayer says.
It's also important to find someone you can talk to about your feelings, whether it's a confidant or a grief counselor who understands pet loss. If you like to write, consider creating your own book about your pet—whether it's stories or pictures of your pet's life or letters to your pet.
"You've realized by now that healing from a loss doesn't happen quickly," DeNayer says. "Nurture your soul. Your friends and family would love to help. Accept their gifts of caring and time. Be alone when you wish. And when you wish to spend time with others, select hope-filled, positive people. Your pet will live in your heart forever. Enjoy your fond memories."