My Story – Part 1/6

Pet Bereavement Services began in a coffee shop in Dundas, Ontario, in February 2014, with my good friend and veterinarian, Dr. Rolf King. I asked him to meet with me to discuss an idea that I had been thinking about for some time.

I had recently euthanized my beloved 12-year old Golden Retriever, Maggie, and very shortly thereafter, my 30 plus horse, Polo, fondly known as “Polo the Wonder Horse”. Luckily for me, I had my step-daughter and a close friend accompany me during each euthanasia because, if you’ve experienced it, you know shock sets in immediately following a trauma – your mind becomes numb in an effort to protect itself from what is happening, or happened. Both deaths left me reeling with grief for months afterwards. I was surprised by the depth of pain that I felt and just how emotional I was. At times, it felt like a roller-coaster, but worse than that, I would tear up easily, and mostly at inopportune times. It would take several months before I adopted another dog, my beautiful Lily Clementine, and several years before I would open my heart again to another horse, my adorable Jack.

On this day, however, I wanted to pick Rolf’s brain about starting a Pet Loss Bereavement “service”. The idea was to see if he thought it would benefit any of his clients if I helped them through this difficult time. I envisioned a pre-euthanasia visit to the client to explain what would happen, step-by-step, so that they could prepare themselves for what was going to happen, offer to attend the euthanasia with them, preferably in their own home, and then be available to work with them afterwards to deal with their loss. I would prepare a remembrance CD of treasured moments and deliver the “cremains” (created remains), rather than having the client pick them up at the office, thereby avoiding that difficult task. And, I was hoping that all of this would help the veterinarian in no small measure.

I had my notes prepared, took a deep breath, and started talking.