Hong Kong Christian Service

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Issue 004
Nov 2014

A love journey to pets – how to get over when they are gone

Maybe there are people who do not understand why it is like the loss of the dearest person when one's pet has gone, tears just broke out uncontrollably, the sadness would last for a long time. When the pet ages and fells sick, people would just spend whatever they can on the medical expenses with a hope to extend the pet's life. People would question, "Why are you nicer to pets than people?" This, to a certain extent reflects how people see animals because they do not understand the bond between the pet and its owner. If the emotion of the pet's owner is not taken care of, it would more or less affect his normal life.

A workshop on grief counselling on pet loss was organised by our Pets Loss Grief Support Project. Dr Chan, a vet and Miss Bonnie Cheng, the writer of the book "19 years old Goldie, the happy old dog", shared how to take care of aged pets and the related knowledge and their experiences. Noses of many audiences turned red and shared the same hard times facing the deteriorated physical health of their beloved pets, they were torn between the guilt and relief of putting the pets to sleep. Miss Cheng shared her experience and encouraged owners of aged pets that taking care of aged pets would affect one's normal life, however, to the pet, it's owner is its only one in its life, when you are willing to take care of it and vent your emotion on them, the pet would feel comfortable and happy, in turn you will feel satisfied.

In view of the increasing need for preparation of ageing pets and the ultimate destiny, our Growth and Social Rehabilitation Core Business, collaborated with a few pet owners who are also professional social workers, started this pet loss–grief counselling service, to help those in need with their professional skills, and we are the first organisation to offer such kind of professional counselling service. Since our service was launched in October, we received many calls for counselling and we also organised self-help groups. In order to be more effective to support these groups of pet owners, our service was supported by cross disciplinary professionals, and with the help of vets and people with similar experience, to help these groups of pet owners.

Miss Clara Ho, the in-charge of this service said, "when people around you have family members passing away, we can show our empathy, however, when their pets passed away, we often under-estimate the impact on their emotion. It is when the pets are often considered as family members, the impact of its passing away is no less than that of a family member, through this service we hope to raise people’s concern so that timely assistance can be offered when needed."

"Apart from personal counselling, we also have self – help groups to take care of owners whose pets are aged, have chronic illness pets and enable them to share their experiences and support among themselves, there is also the "Over the Rainbow" mutual support group by people with similar experiences and social workers, to learn to overcome sadness and build up positive attitude towards life", told by Miss Ho.

About pet loss grief support service

Pet Loss Grief Support Service is for pet owners whose pets are getting old, sick or have passed away suddenly and who are emotionally disturbed by it, we offer professional counselling and support service. While at the same time, we aim at raising society’s concern on the emotional needs of pet owners when their pets pass away.

Enquiry/Appointments/Referral: 59013139 (Every Tuesday, Thursday, 2pm to 10pm)

Scope of service: Personal counselling, educational workshop, counselling groups

Fee: Counselling service ($100/session)/ Workshop & groups ($50 each)

* Fee waiver for low income groups.

'Over the Rainbow' mutual support group
Target: pet owners (and their family members) whose pet has passed away or have had similar experiences

Date: Mid December 2014 (tentatively). Please call 59013139 for registration.

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