Your team may never have thought of that before.”We deal with death ten times more often in veterinary medicine than in the human medicine field.” I present that concept to veterinary technician students yearly and I am always surprised by their response. Most have never considered that aspect of working with animals.
Yes, we love them, see them as a puppy/kitten/foal, help to neuter/alter them, work through behavior problems, help them survive their adolescent years, nurse them through ailments, treat them as they mature, begin senior care at 7 years (human calendar years, 49+/- pet years), manage their senior years, offer hospice care and assist with end-of-life around 10-12 (average) years of age. That’s rather fast, when you think about it.
In the past, I have encouraged veterinary technicians and health care team members with a passion for pet loss and grief to take hold of that passion and create a peaceful experience for the pet, pet owner, and children. When I worked on the floor at Town & Country as a technician, I often helped parents assist their children with the transition of their cherished pet, before, during, and after euthanasia or death. I often cried with the family, too.
Now, we have so many ways we can help families with the end-of-life care! Consider a few of these educational opportunities for the veterinary health care team:
Pet-Loss Grief Recovery Specialist (online program with certificate): http://www.aihcp.org/ceu-program-grief-pet-loss.htm
Pet Loss & Grief: Understanding The Pieces This retreat-style three-day session will take participants through every aspect of the pet loss process, as well as touching on areas of self-care for the caregiver and how to incorporate being a caregiver into a healthy lifestyle, as well as how to effectively market your pet loss services. http://www.pet-loss-grief.com/
International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care offers many webinars and a convention will be held in Denver in November: http://www.iaahpc.org/index.php/education/iaahpc-webinars
IAAHPC Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AnimalHospice
Here’s to offering all our family members a peaceful passing. RR