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									About the Tufts University Pet Loss                      Tufts University Pet Loss                                                                                   The death of a beloved pet!!!
Support Hotline!!!                                       Support Hotline                                                                                                The bond we form
Since its inception in 1996, the Tufts Pet Loss                                                                                                                      with our pets is unique
                                                         To have loved and lost!!!                                                                                   and personal and so is
Support Hotline has received over 1000 phone calls
from people just like you: people grieving over the      The loss of a pet can have a significant impact on                                                          the grief we feel when
loss of their beloved friend and cherished family        you and your family. Companion animals give us a                                                            they die. All of us expe-
member.                                                  type of support, love, and loyalty that can be hard                                                         rience and cope with
                                                         to find elsewhere. Losing a family pet can be one of                                                        loss just a little differ-
  The Hotline was established by a group of caring       the most difficult times in your life.                                                                      ently. We can experi-
veterinary students in response to the perceived                                                                                                                     ence a wide range of
                                                           Loss of a pet, whether due to death, disappear-
need for a community-based resource through                                                                                                                          emotional and physical
which people could safely grieve the past or
                                                         ance, or inability to keep it, is the loss of a special   Tufts University                                  states: shock, sorrow,
                                                         and unique part of your life. Knowing that there
impending separation from a pet. To that end, an                                                                                                                     anger, fatigue, guilt,
                                                         will be no replacement causes pain and grief.             Pet Loss                                                                       “...Remember not my
effort was launched to establish the Tufts                                                                                                                           insomnia, loss of
                                                         Whether your pet is a cat, dog, ferret, rabbit, horse,                                                                                          fight of breath,
University School of Veterinary Medicine Pet Loss                                                                                                                    appetite, and loneliness.     Remember not the strife.
                                                         bird, fish, or any other species of animal that shares
Support Hotline.
                                                         our hearts and lives, the staff at the Pet Loss
                                                                                                                   Support                                           Others may feel simply        Please do not dwell
  The Hotline is run solely by our own veterinary        Support Hotline understands the significance of                                                             empty. All of these                 upon my death,
students. These student volunteers participate in        your loss.                                                Hotline                                           things are normal.            But celebrate my life.”
an all-day training session with a licensed therapist.                                                                                                               What’s important is that From “Request from the
                                                           If you are anticipating the loss of a pet or want to
In addition, regular staff meetings and on-going                                                                                                                     you allow yourself to               Rainbow Bird” by
                                                         talk with someone about your thoughts and feel-                                                                                                     Constance Jenkins
trainings are held.                                                                                                                                                  grieve as much or as lit-
                                                         ings regarding a pet that has died, please give us a
  Callers are assured the assistance of a caring, sup-   call. The Pet Loss Support Hotline can help you
                                                                                                                   "#$%$&'%('))                                      tle as you need and for as long as you need.
portive, respectful, non-judgmental person when          think through difficult decisions and explore your                                                             Talk with others. Share your precious memories.
they contact our Pet Loss Support Hotline. Our           feelings.                                                                                                   Seek support from family, friends, and caring peo-
staff is also available to provide recommended read-                                                                                          6PM – 9PM EST          ple. Finally, the day will come when thoughts of
ing material, help you think through any decision                                                                                                                    your beloved pet will only bring you smiles.
                                                         Questions you may have!!!                                                           Monday – Friday
you may be facing concerning the death of your pet,
and to help you discuss your animal’s death/loss           • When is it time to say goodbye?                                                                         But suppose my pet didn’t die!!!
with your children and friends. Please note: As stu-       • Are my feelings of grief normal?
                                                                                                                                   *+%Hour Voice Mail                   The Pet Loss Support Hotline is available not
dents, we cannot provide any medical advice regard-        • Why am I still sad about a pet I lost long                                                              only for people facing decisions regarding euthana-
ing your pet’s current or past medical conditions.           ago?
                                                                                                                    Calls will be returned during the next shift.    sia and death of their pet. Any situation where you
                                                           • How can I help my grieving child?                                                                       find yourself separated from your pet can be a dev-
Our Mission!!!
                                                           • How do I make arrangements for the                                                                      astating one. The Hotline can be a resource for
The Tufts Pet Loss Support Hotline seeks to serve            remains of my pet?                                                                                      those who are forced to give up their companion
the community-at-large by providing both a                 • Should I get a new pet? If so, when?                                                                    animal for any number of reasons: relocation, aller-
resource for people grieving the loss of a pet, and an
                                                                                                                           For latest information on hours and       gies, financial constraints, etc. Occasionally, ani-
opportunity for our veterinary students to acquire
                                                         How to reach us!!!                                               services, please visit us at our website   mals stray from their home, never to return to their
the skills needed for pet loss and grief counseling.
                                                                            Tufts University                                                                         original family. What makes these experiences so
                                                                                                                                 www!tufts!edu/vet/petloss           sad are the lingering questions and lack of closure.
Donations!!!                                                                School of Veterinary Medicine
                                                                                                                                                                     You are left wondering:
We are supported primarily by private donations.                            Pet Loss Support Hotline                                                                   •Is my pet safe?
It is the financial support of individuals, veterinary                      200 Westboro Road                                                                          •Is someone caring for my pet?
practices, private foundations, and pet-related                             North Grafton, MA 01536                                                                    •Will my pet ever return to me?
industries that make the Pet Loss Support Hotline                                                                                                                      •Did I do the right thing?
possible. Please see our website for more informa-       "#$%$&'%('))
                                                                                                                                                                        Staff at the Hotline can help you work through
tion (                        www!tufts!edu/vet/petloss
                                                                                                                                                                     these and many other unanswered questions.
                                                         Brochure design by TUSVM Media Services 7/2000
When hope is not enough!!!                             How do I tell my children?
  Although our hope would be for our animal              Children grieve very differently than                        Tufts University
companions to live a long, healthy life and die        adults. A child’s perception of death
curled up in a peaceful sleep, illness or injury may
instead cut short the time you always expected to
                                                       varies as a function of age, level
                                                       of maturity, and personal
                                                                                                                             Pet Loss
have together. Often we are faced with the heart-
breaking decision of choosing the time, place, and
                                                       experience. Understanding
                                                       the level of emotional                                                 Support
method of our pet's death when it becomes clear        and cognitive develop-
that they are suffering or when other needs pre-
dominate. Choosing to end the life of your pet can
                                                       ment that your child
                                                       possesses will better
be one of the most difficult things you will ever      enable you to
have to do. Thinking about saying goodbye and the      explain what it
subsequent loss is sometimes so painful that you       means when a pet
are unable to make any decision at all.                dies or leaves home
                                                       for whatever rea-
                                                       son. Using state-
                                                       ments such as "put
                                                       to sleep" or "passed
                                                       on" have very differ-
                                                       ent meanings for chil-
                                                       dren and we suggest that                                                        Do animals grieve?
                                                       you avoid these confusing
                                                       euphemisms.                                                                  We may never know if ani-
                                                                                                                                mals feel the loss of other ani-
                                                         To help your child understand                                      mals the same way we do.
                                                       the permanence of death and the
                                                                                                                        However, it is clear by their actions
                                                       grief involved with the loss, keep the fol-
                                                                                                                 that they do respond to the absence of their
                                                       lowing suggestions in mind:
                                                                                                            companions. You may see changes in their eating
                                                       •Always be honest with your child.                   and sleeping habits, they might appear depressed,
                                                       •Encourage your child to talk about his/her feel-    or may constantly search for their missing friend.
                                                       ings.                                                Many will need time and extra attention from lov-
                                                       •Allow yourself to be honest with your own feel-     ing owners to adjust to their new life. While we
                                                       ings.                                                may not know the depth of their grief, we can help
                                                       •Alert your child’s teacher or daycare provider as   them get through the experience as they also help
 “What I would like to feel that, having once
                                                       to the recent family sadness.                        us.
     had me in the family, now she cannot              •Read a book with your child that addresses pet
     live without a dog.”                              loss.
                      The Last Will and Testament of   •Allow your child to grieve with the family. Show
                     an Extremely Distinguished Dog    them, by example, that it is appropriate to be sad
                                   by Eugene O’Neill   and cry.
                                                       •Emphasize the fact that nobody is to blame for
You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Get   the death/loss of your pet. Children tend to think
help from your veterinarian, pet loss counselors,      in concrete terms and often wonder if they are
and others who have gone through similar experi-       somehow responsible.
ences. There are no right answers: just do what        •If possible, give children an opportunity to say
feels right for you.                                   goodbye. This will allow for a sense of closure.

Call us at: "#$%$&'%(')) • )%'PM EST • Mon%Fri • *+%Hour Voice Mail
or visit our website: www!tufts!edu/vet/petloss

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