Episode 32

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Published on:

25th Mar 2021

Pet Loss and the Grief Process with Angie Arora

I had the pleasure of speaking with today’s guest, Angie Arora, and her colleague several months ago about the research done on the challenges of pet loss and bereavement. They shared so much information during that discussion that I asked Angie to return to the show today. In this episode, Angie takes a deep dive into pet loss and bereavement, the stages of grief, immortalizing a beloved pet, and some of the challenges people had to face during the pandemic. 

Angie is a registered social worker from Toronto, Canada, with over sixteen years of experience in the fields of pet loss and veterinary compassion resilience. She is a virtual pet loss facilitator and a lead coach for VetVine’s Wellness and Professional Resiliency Coaching Program. She also continues to research to better support clients through their pet’s end of life. Join us today to hear more about the work Angie is doing to help people through the various stages of the grief process. 

Show highlights:

  • Angie explains what led her to become interested in doing the work she does.
  • Angie describes the various types of grief.
  • Angie explains why social support networks are everything when it comes to grief and mourning. And why people need to tap into support networks now more than ever.
  • Emotional regulation begins with self-awareness. Angie explains what it means to be self-aware.
  • Angie discusses the importance of the routine that pets bring to our lives.
  • Kristen Neff wrote an excellent book about self-compassion. Angie explains what self-compassion means and why it is vital to have self-compassion during the grieving process.
  • Often, when people grieve the loss of a pet, they lose the support networks that are evident in other aspects of their lives. 
  • Validation is a fundamental need. When we are not validated, it can complicate the rest of our healing journey.
  • We need to find ways to adapt to the pandemic situation without sacrificing our needs in the process. Angie discusses that in the context of pet loss and pet memorial.
  • Angie discusses the work that David Kessler has been doing around the sixth stage of grief, the meaning stage.
  • Angie shares some of the greatest lessons she’s learned from the people she has helped.

 

Angie’s bio:

Angie Arora, MSW, RSW

Angie Arora is a registered Social Worker from Toronto, Canada, with over 16 years of experience in the areas of pet loss and veterinary compassion resilience. She has worked as a hospital Veterinary Social Worker, facilitated community-based pet loss support groups, and engaged in media campaigns to reduce the stigma associated with pet loss. Angie serves as the Board Secretary for the International Association of Veterinary Social Work, is the Research Chair for the International Association for Animal Hospice &Palliative Care, and volunteers her time to address equity issues within veterinary medicine. She works with VetVine as a Virtual Pet Loss Facilitator and is the Lead Coach for their VETPeers Wellness and Professional Resiliency Coaching Program. She is a Professor with Seneca College’s Social Service Worker Program, where she was the principal investigator of a research study that developed guidelines for veterinary teams to better support clients through their pets’ end of life. Angie obtained her Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University and Masters of Social Work from York University.

Links and resources:

 

Contact Angie on LinkedIn

Email Angie – angie.arora@senekacollege.ca 

Books:

David Kessler: 

“Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief.”  https://grief.com/sixth-stage-of-grief/

Kristen Neff, PhD  

Self Compassion- https://self-compassion.org/

Meg Daley Lomert “Made for Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond”

 

ONLINE SUPPORT GROUPS & CHAT ROOMS:  

Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement https://www.aplb.org/chat-2/  

Hoofbeats in Heaven (Equine Loss Support) http://www.hoofbeats-in-heaven.com/group/  

IAADP Assistance Dogs Loss Committee https://www.iaadp.org/adlc.html  

 

PET LOSS HOTLINES:  

Cornell University Pet Loss Support Hotline 607-218-7457 M-F 6 pm-9 pm eastern Time and SS 12 pm-9 pm eastern time  

Lap of Love Pet Loss and Bereavement Hotline 855-352-5683 

Tufts University Pet Loss Support Hotline 508-839-7966 M-F 6 pm- 9 pm  

UK Pet Bereavement Support - only the email function is available internationally:

https://www.bluecross.org.uk/about-pbss 

VetVine: Pet loss support groups:  https://www.vetvine.com/article/657/vetvine-virtual-pet-loss-support-services

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About the Podcast

Animal Academy Podcast
Animal Academy Podcast
The stories of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in the Human-Animal connection. Listen as Allison White showcases professionals who share their areas of expertise in an ongoing series of interviews that will help us all understand that WE are the ones that actually end up learning – from the Animals. This is – The Animal Academy Podcast.

About your host

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Allison White

Allison is a licensed clinical social worker and Veterinary Social Worker who has been working in the mental health field for over 28 years. She has been involved in programs that value the human-animal connection including participating in animal-assisted therapy, obedience, agility, conformation, herding and field work with her dogs. When her dogs encountered sports-related injuries, she was introduced to the field of canine rehabilitation and sport’s medicine. When dogs faced chronic health issues, Allison, too, suffered from Compassion Fatigue, which can occur when taking care of loved ones, including animals as well as people. This led Allison to complete extensive training in Compassion Fatigue and then go on to present this information for the benefit of helping others in the health care environment and animal caregivers.
Allison’s passion has been to recognize this human-animal bond and what we can learn from animals, which improves our own quality of life by allowing us to experience their unconditional love, devotion and intelligence. We can all learn from the animals.