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Grieving? Attend Paws to Angels’ Pet Loss Support Groups

By on March 20, 2015

If you have lost a pet recently or are having a difficult time adjusting to life without him or her, there are outlets for you which can assist during this difficult time.

Cherie Fry, Certified Pet Loss Professional, founded Paws To Angels Pet Loss Center and Services, the State of Nebraska’s first and only Total End of Life Care Center for pets, totally dedicated her life to pets and their families and, with her efforts, has given a new definition to pet death-care in the area.

Now a well recognized thought-leader on the subject of pet death-care by organizations such as the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance and the International Cemetery, plus the Crematory and Funeral Association, her work within the pet death care industry has begun to span the state of Nebraska, pet parents, companies, organizations and the pet business community see her passion for pets and her respectful treatment in death. In response to the growing need for education in pet loss many organizations have turned to Cherie to guide them in educational seminars, how to in act bereavement policy’s into their companies, educating our veterinarian community on pet loss and grief to better provide care for their family’s suffering loss, as well to be an educational resource in the pet grief discipline. We are glad to have Cherie as a Pet Partner who can assist grieving pet parents.

Cherie can help with any difficult situation related to your pet’s health and can assist you in finding contentment as well. Maybe you have just learned about your pet’s terminal diagnosis. Maybe you are dealing with the end stages of life with your pet or your pet has died. If your pet has disappeared through a divorce or otherwise, you may be feeling too numb to think about what you need to manage the stress and anxiety that naturally comes with these kinds of losses. Dealing with the feelings and the changes can be lonely even when you are surrounded by loving and supportive people at home, but all too often, pet parents feel very alone. Talking to someone who is going through much of the same grief may be the first step in helping you cope with the uncertainties ahead.

Forums such as support groups provide us with a safe place where we can embrace our pain in ”doses.” Encountering the pain of the loss all at once would overwhelm us and leave us defenseless and exhausted. Sometimes bereaved people need to distract themselves from the pain of the loss, while at other times they need a “safe harbor” to pull into and embrace the depth of the loss. Support groups provide shared experiences, emotional support, and coping techniques while connecting families, care partners, and individuals who are suffering from the loss of a pet and help create that open environment for healing.

 

 

 

Support groups also help you to know you’re not alone on this new journey. Talking with others or just listening can help you deal with your reactions to this new lifestyle and how to deal with perceptions of other people.

In short, as group members give and receive help, they feel less helpless and are able to discover continued meaning in life. Feeling understood by others brings down barriers between the bereaved person and the world outside. This process of being understood is central to being compassionate with oneself as a bereaved person.

The Support Group meets the 1st and 3rd Monday evening of every month. 6-7 pm, at 11718 W. Dodge Rd. Please call for further information. Contact information can be found on the Pets in Omaha Directory page.

Support Group for Children meets every other month. Please see calendar for dates and times or call for further information 402-507-0585.

Support groups help bereaved people by:

  • Countering the sense of isolation that many experience in pet loss
  • Providing emotional, physical, and spiritual support in a safe, nonjudgmental environment.
  • Encouraging members to not only receive support and understanding for themselves but also to provide the same to others.
  • Helping them trust their fellow human beings again in what for many in grief feels like an unsafe, uncaring world.
  • Providing a supportive environment

Paws to Angels offers support to families and the community before, during, and after the loss of a pet. Loss is different for each person and is a life long journey. Rediscover your strengths, while honoring your grief, and your pet.

Here’s a bit of the upcoming topic schedule for Support Groups:

April 6, 2015 – Honoring the part pets play in our life. Traditions and rituals of comfort.

April 20, 2015 – Honoring the part we play in our pets life. Give yourself some credit.

May 4, 2015 – Stages of Grief? And placing a bid for comfort.

May 18, 2015 – Physical signs and symptoms of grief. Adults children, and animals.

June 1, 2015 – The first year after loss. What to expect.

June 15, 2015 – Emotional signs and symptoms of grief. Adults children, and animals.

July 6, 2015 – Loss is personal, and you get to guide your process.

July 20, 2015 – The difference between internal and external grieving.

August 3, 2015 – What to say when other say stupid or hurtful things about your loss.

August 17, 2015 -Self care and what to do when other can’t or won’t offer comfort.

Topics are general guide lines of the group. We’ll end each class with a simple stress elimination meditation or Energy exercise. The first meeting of the month we will be joined by Gina Green, Medical Intuitive for a special event:

April 6, 2015- Pet Readings; that have passed or current pets. 15 minute sessions for $15.00.

May 4, 2015 -Pet Health Energy Classes. Show owner how to balance their pet’s brain and spine health. $25.00 for an hour class.

June 1, 2015 -Pet Healing Session; Using the owner to muscle test and tap out. They would bring their pet, we would not be touching the pet directly. Pets are pack animals, so we can treat them through their owner. Kids are the same way. 15 minutes sessions, $15.00

If you are interested in any of these meetings, services or would like more information, please find Cherie and Paws to Angels on our Directory page where you can find her Website, phone number and more. For testimonials, read below.

 

Here’s what one alumnus of Cherie’s pet loss support group says:

“It was not only supportive, but a healing environment for approaching the grieving process for my beloved Zoe. I felt heard by a group that cared and it was a wonderful healing space of compassion. Talking with people who have suffered pet losses was helpful in processing my own feelings of grief, denial, anger and depression. While death is not something that is easy to talk about and share I found relief that I was not alone and that I had support from others. I want to express my deepest gratitude not only to Cherie, but to all the people I’ve met while attending support group.”

-Terra Henggeler

Another pet loss support group member shares his testimony:

“I would like to thank Cherie Fry at Paws to Angels for holding the Pet Loss Support Group every first and third Monday of each month for her support, understanding, kindness, knowledge and availability. I was having an extremely hard time coping with the early death of my most precious little Rat Terrier, Lilly. Unfortunately I was in need of Cherie and solace 3 days after I had to euthanize Lilly because of liver failure due to pancreatitis. I say unfortunately not because it was unfortunate that I found Cherie but more because had I known what I know now about the euthanasia practices in the Omaha area I would have done things so very differently. I was looking for meetings or books on pet loss at the Centering Corporation when I literally was overwhelmed with grief breaking down and balling like a baby right in public. They asked me some questions about what happened and I could barely squeak it out. They immediately told me about this lady that has meetings and even more information about pet loss specifically. I drove straight there and saw Cherie out front. I could tell she knew why I was there and the first thing she did without even saying a word was give me a huge hug and tell me it will be alright. We discussed several things about what she does and how we could or could have gone about handling my Lilly’s death but the most important thing we did after all that was done was continue the support afterwards. It was that night that Cherie friended me on Facebook just to let me know that she is truly concerned and would be there at any moment if I needed her. The meetings are very important to me because after 60 days I still hurt a lot but I understand that the guilt I felt in the beginning and still feel sometimes was normal. Cherie has also dealt with pet loss and unlike anyone in the mental health community that has read a lot about loss Cherie shared her very own stories of the loss of her pet and the guilt she also felt. This meant a lot to me and still does. She continues to remind me every meeting that she is available 24/7 if I need to talk, I also do the same for her if she has the need because I now know that I am not alone in the grief process which is such a relief that I am not alone out there. We stay in contact via Facebook and phone even outside of the meetings Cherie has helped the grief process so much that she is now my “go to” for many of my pet needs from suggesting where to get pets, to where to buy food, toys and even suggesting a vet to start taking my older existing dog and two new dogs. I am pretty sure that I and much better off having gone and continuing to go to the Pet Loss Support Group and just knowing Cherie than I would have been never finding her. Thank you so very much you have no idea how much you have helped me in my time of desperate need and grief.”

-Tim Ellis

 

About Eric Forrest

Eric is a pet lover, bookworm and dad. He's had 5 family dogs, 4 cats, a cottontail rabbit he nursed back to health, and two ducks. Cats are his preference, but Eric loves all little critters.

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