An Important Message to Animal Healthcare Professionals
ABBEY GLEN AND THE PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY
By Russell Friedman and John W. James
Founders of The Grief Recovery Institute and co-authors of The Grief Recovery Handbook
We are honored to write a few words in praise of the Veterinarians and Technicians who have showed up at many of the speeches and trainings we have conducted in conjunction with Abbey Glen. It is one thing to acknowledge that there is a need for better education in dealing with grieving pet owners, it is another thing to show up and spend the time and energy to actually learn effective ways of helping people whose hearts have been broken by the death of their pet.
So to the hundreds and even thousands of you who have given up some of your weekends or evenings to attend one of our lectures or mini-trainings, we salute you. We salute you on behalf of those people who so desperately need to be heard and understood, at a time when very few people seem to know how to respond.
As the people who are in the trenches with grieving pet owners at one of the most critical times of their lives, you know how every word or phrase you utter can have dramatic affect on the person who is drowning in sorrow. It is probably reasonable to suggest that many of you working in the veterinary field were originally drawn to it by your own love of animals.
We also know that your industry, like many others, is inundated with rules and regulations that sometimes make it seem as if it is impossible to stay focused on the primary task of high quality veterinary care, much less the equally important task of attending to the broken hearts caused by the illness and death of beloved pets.
As professionals in the area of helping people deal with loss, we are painfully aware of the misunderstanding experienced by grieving people in our society as the result of the death of a spouse, a relative, or a friend. And we know that the level of what might be called verbal abuse suffered by grieving pet owners is even greater. We know that those of you who work so hard to deliver excellent medical and emotional care are affected by those same attitudes.
We hope you will join us in a re-commitment to educating ourselves and the public at large to a higher standard of understanding, compassion, and love for our clients, relatives, and friends who have been affected by the death of a beloved pet.