Human grief on the death of a pet

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Baydak, Martha A.
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In order to address the disenfranchised nature of the human grief response to the death of a pet and to validate the importance of the relationship between the pet and the owner, a series of five structured, time-limited and closed pet loss support groups were facilitated. Results of this practicum indicate that 11 of 18 participants felt that the severity of their grief reaction was unusual. Thirteen participants indicated that relationships with family and friends who did not understand their grief had been strained. Sixteen of the 18 participants indicated that attending the group had helped them come to terms with their grief All 18 of the respondents indicated that they felt that information about a pet loss support group should be provided to all bereaved pet owners, and that they would encourage others to attend a pet loss support group. Several participants expressed resentment that their own veterinarians had not offered a support group, but that they had to learn of the existence of the support group from a different source. Further research is needed into the impact of pet death on family and social dynamics, as compared to the impact of other major losses.