The Best Friend Gone Project is a service offered by the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine to help those who are dealing with the loss of a pet.
Veterinarians and mental health professionals recognize and agree that there is a legitimate grief response to animal loss, which is very similar in nature and sometimes as significant as the grief response to human death.
Children who are grieving a pet's death may be unable or unwilling to verbalize their feelings. Bereaved adults may have lost a companion more constant and significant than any human in their daily lives. Families have lost an important family member and family life is often disrupted/changed.
Too often however, the grief resulting from an animal's death is unrecognized by society and perhaps even by those closest to us. Sympathy and support are very often unavailable or not offered to bereaved pet owners. Yet, understanding is helpful in making a healthy recovery.
With the loss of an animal, grief may last from a few days to a few years. Still, one may encounter people who innocently hurt with their remarks (such as "Just get another..." or "It was just a dog/cat/horse").
Sometimes owners are ridiculed about the amount of time or money spent on treatment or memorialization.
Even when death is anticipated, the intensity of emotion during the grief process can seem overwhelming. It is common for pet owners to feel:
• Unable to stop crying
Many times sleep or appetite disturbances accompany grief. Imagining the animal’s presence or dreaming of them is experienced by many.
Recovery from grief can be made easier through knowledge of the process and sharing feelings with others who understand.
The Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine has recognized this need and is offering help. The Best Friend Gone Project offers assistance when a pet has died or when death is anticipated. The Best Friend Gone Project offers:
• Telephone counseling
• Private counseling
• Internet resources
• Reading lists
• Information on animal loss
You may reach the Best Friend Gone counselors by calling (225) 578-9547 / emailing email@example.com / or by having your veterinarian request that a counselor call you.