UK Dog Remembrance Month Raises Awareness of Grieving for Pets
This September is being declared as Dog Remembrance Month, creating a focus for dog lovers to come together and celebrate the lives of their cherished pets, whilst providing mutual support and understanding. Shocking survey data shows that losing a pet can cause such an intense grief, a tenth of respondents sought counselling or were prescribed anti-depressants.
Local dog sitting specialists, Barking Mad Knutsford, are supporting the vision of providing a platform for people who are suffering dog bereavement. Owner, Amanda Prentice said,
“We want to raise national awareness of the lack of understanding that many dogs are regarded as precious family members, leading to overwhelming grief being harmfully internalised by their owners. Bereaved dog lovers often feel that their pain will just be dismissed and so suffer in silence.”
A poll of 2,000 animal lovers for pet insurers Animalfriends.co.uk highlighted that more than half of those surveyed described the grief of losing an animal as, ‘the same or greater than losing a relative’. Experts believe that bereaved pet owners become so distraught because their animal was perceived to be part of the family.
Dr Thomas Fletcher, senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett University said:
“We humanise our pets – they are not just animals but become actual members of our family. Particularly for elderly people, the animal is the one they invest so much of their time and energy into. For that person in particular, an animal’s loss is felt more keenly than that of a human. Because pets are entirely dependent on us, those who are lonely invest even more of their time because they are reliant on us for everything. They become literally our entire world.”
Barking Mad Dog Care have worked closely with an ever-expanding network of dog lovers for the last nineteen years. Their first-hand experience has led to a real understanding of the issues involved and resulted in the launch of the first UK Dog Remembrance Month in 2017. They have created a Facebook support group (facebook.com/groups/DogBereavementRainbowBridgeRemembrance) and will be leading a discussion across social media channels throughout the month of September.
Bereaved dog parents often find companionship by becoming a Barking Mad host, when the time is right for them. Hosts care for dogs whose owners are away on holiday, with 24/7 support and without the emotional commitment of owning another dog. Barking Mad host Wendy Fearn sadly lost her Tibetian terrier, Star, and found that she missed dog walks and the companionship terribly. She said:
“I didn’t know about Barking Mad until my last little dog died and then my daughter thought it might be a good idea – it’s lovely!”
If you are missing a dog in your life and would like to learn more about becoming a Barking Mad host, Amanda Prentice can be contacted on 01565 760165.