The Puppy Training Podcast

Episode #78 Pet Bereavement

September 22, 2021 Baxter & Bella Puppy Training Season 4 Episode 78
The Puppy Training Podcast
Episode #78 Pet Bereavement
Show Notes Transcript

Bridget Simms from Paws-and-Play.com joins Amy in studio to talk about pet bereavement. She offers tips and things you can do to help in this process as well as how to help your other pets at home with their grief. 

You can learn more about Bridget and her work at https://paws-and-play.com/.

Support the show (http://www.baxterandbella.com/learn-more)
Amy:

This is the puppy training podcast episode number 78 pet bereavement. This podcast is designed to help you on your journey of becoming best friends through love and learning as you train your own dog from home, and I'm here to help you every step of the way. This is the puppy training podcast, and I'm your host, Amy Jensen. Hi, everyone. Welcome. Thank you for listening to the podcast. I appreciate you being here every week. Today I'm excited to introduce you to Bridget Sims. She is a qualified dog trainer over in the UK. She runs the Academy of dog training and behavior and is a cross trainer as well with dog fit UK. Bridget is also qualified as a dog first aid trainer, a dog groomer with the City and Guilds and also she's gaining the holistic dog groomer diploma. And as a pet bereavement Support Specialist with the Blue Cross. Bridgette also works with local vets to provide a weight management program. Bridget continues with her own personal development attending courses relating to dog law, calmness and reactive dogs and canine body language with the Dog Training College. We are honored to have Bridget here with us today and look forward to hearing about tips that she has regarding pet bereavement. So welcome, Bridget. Thanks for being here today.

Bridget Simms:

Thank you very much for having me. It's great to be here.

Amy:

Will you tell us a little bit about yourself and why dogs? Why did you choose to get into this field?

Bridget Simms:

Oh, well, I mean, I guess I've had dogs, the majority of my life. And I've always been really passionate about the bond that you can have with your dog. You know, I've always been really lucky. I've had some fantastic dogs. And I think I started kind of studying various things about dogs for my own personal interest really. And then sort of began to realize that the more you learn, the more you realize there is to learn. If that makes sense, there's just certain you just feel like you're scratching the surface all of the time. And so kind of my my passion to learn more grew. And I, I love to train people, I come from a training and development background. So I just love to see, other people really kind of blossom and grow as their confidence grows in various different walks of life. And I found that as I learned more about dogs and the bond with a dog, and I was kind of sharing that with other people, people will coming back to me for more and more. And, you know, that's kind of really how I started down down the route of just totally working with dogs and everything dogs Really?

Amy:

Yeah, I hear you there. I also as an educator, enjoy teaching people I love that moment when that light bulb turns on. And you can see that you're making a difference for someone and I love that we can do that in the world of dogs.

Bridget Simms:

Absolutely, you get so much pleasure out of seeing other people connect with their dogs in the way that you know that they can.

Amy:

Truly so what's on the topic of living life with your dogs, what's something that you love to go do with your dogs?

Bridget Simms:

Oh, I've done lots of different things over the years with my dogs. So I've done agility with dogs before, which is always great fun. They're all dogs are always a lot fitter than me. And obviously canicross, which we spoke about earlier. One of the things that I like to do every week is go on an adventure. So on my day off each week, I've got the dogs in the car, and off we go we find a new walk, we go somewhere new somewhere. No, it doesn't have to be very far away. But I try once a week to kind of say, right, it's our adventure day. And it's somewhere we go and explore together somewhere we've not been before I love it. I really look forward to those those sessions because, you know, we're all kind of investigating and getting lost together. It's great fun.

Amy:

I love that idea. That's a wonderful concept of, you know, going somewhere new with your dog on a weekly basis. I think that the dog gives me added bravery, if you will, to go dry and do adventures and new places. So I love that you brought that up. That's so fun. Well today, I appreciate you being here to talk about pet bereavement. Losing a dog can be very difficult and they truly become really one of the family. What tips can you offer those who have lost a dog recently?

Bridget Simms:

I think it's pet bereavement is very individual. I think I think there's a lot of underlying feelings that most people will experience so I think one of the great Just things that people experiences guilt, they feel guilty because they've made the decision maybe, or they've had to make the decision to, to euthanize the dog. Or they feel guilty because they think they didn't make that decision quickly enough, or they feel guilty because they didn't stop something was wrong with that dog, people go through this whole guilt trip. And I think it's really, really hard for people to realize that actually, if you look up the meaning of guilt, it basically means that, you know, you, it's the feeling you get when you've done something wrong, you know, and making a decision to put a dog out of pain, or, you know, not being not being sort of vet and retrained to spot certain symptoms in dogs. You shouldn't feel guilty about that. It's but that's a natural, natural instinct. And I think sometimes people that have lost a dog feel very alone, they think other people won't understand. And other people won't maybe think their grief is disproportionate. You know, he very often hear people say, what was only a dog, you can get another one. It's not only a dog to us, and, and so I think people sometimes feel they can't discuss it, or they can't talk about it, because people won't understand they feel very lonely. Also, different family members might react to grief differently. So you may have one person that needs to talk about the dog needs to mention the dog's name needs to talk about the fun times that they had together. And you may have another family member that can't talk about it. And then that can make things very difficult as well, because you're dealing with grief in different ways. So I mean, I guess my my overarching sort of tip to anybody is, there are pet bereavement support specialists there to help. And you're not alone. And you can talk to somebody, and that can be whenever you're ready. So it can be actually even before you've lost a dog, maybe it might be that you're getting to that point where you think I'm gonna have to make a decision soon. And I don't know if I'm doing it at the right time, you can actually talk through that with a support specialist. Or you can talk through the decisions that you'll have to make when the day comes. So for example, you know, what do you want to happen with the dog's body after they've been euthanized? There are lots of different options. Certainly in the UK, obviously, I'm not sure about in the US. But in the UK, there are lots of different options about what you might want to happen. But you can actually discuss all of those options, know what your options are, and have that plan in place so that at the time that you do have to make the decision, you're not overwhelmed by emotion, you've got a plan written down that you can just hand to your vet. Or it could be that you want to talk to somebody straight after you've lost your dog or it might be six months down the road. And grief can quite often be associated with other things as well. So depending on what other bereavements you've had in your life may impact, you know, how you react to losing a dog. So for example, a child could be, you know, very, very badly affected, because it may be the first family member they've ever lost. Or, you know, it could be that perhaps you have been looking after a dog or you've taken on the care of a dog that belong to an elderly relative that passed away. So actually losing the dog brings back the feelings of grief having lost that relative Does that make sense? Completely?

Amy:

Yeah, completely.

Bridget Simms:

There are lots of different reasons why people grieve the way they do. Not the amount of grief you feel is never disproportionate, it's personal. And talking to specialists can really help you to understand those feelings and for you to just have somebody to talk it through with because quite often that's all that people need.

Amy:

Do you have any good resou ces that people could turn to to find one of those speci lists?

Bridget Simms:

Yeah, I mean, obviously, I'm not sure in the US, I would imagine that there are people over in the US that can do that. I am about to put I've got a little bit on my website about pet bereavement, but I'm also about to do a, like a free masterclass that will be uploaded on there as well to give people hints and tips. And maybe I'll probably even include a sort of like a checklist of people that they can use and so I will We'll be putting more and more resources on my website. But I, you know, Google's a great tool. Unfortunately, I do find that, like anything, you'll you'll find some really good useful resources and some not so useful resources. A lot of animal charities, certainly again, over here in the UK, animal charities will support with better pet bereavement. So, you know, there may be animal charities in the US that could do that, as well.

Amy:

Fantastic, I appreciate that you're diving into this work a little further and putting those resources out. For people, I think it's very helpful for people to understand and know that grief from a death of a pet is normal, and that it's okay to talk to people and to feel sad, you know, with the death of a pet. So I appreciate your comments on that. I've been asked recently, you know, losing a dog can be hard for the people, it can also be hard for the other dogs in the household. Do you have any tips on how to help other dogs overcome their grief when there's a death of a pet and family?

Bridget Simms:

Yes, I mean, it depends very much obviously, on the circumstances. And again, if you if you know that, you know, you're planning the euthanasia, you know that it's coming on when it's coming. If possible, if you're if your veterinary surgeon will perform that at home, it's always good to have not the other dogs not in a room in the room when it actually takes place. But to allow them to see the body afterwards, because they do understand. And if they can come in and actually see the body, it helps them to, to accept that the dog isn't coming back. If you take the dog to the vet, which sometimes you have to do, sometimes there isn't a choice, and sometimes it's very sudden, and you don't have the time to plan these things. But very often, then a dog that's left at home may become anxious, you may find that they keep going to the door or they keep pacing around the house because they're looking for the other dog, they're not understanding why the other dog isn't coming back, I would say one of the key things to do if you possibly can is try and keep your normal routine and your normal structure. Because as you know, dogs dogs do like routine. And they in and they do like as a structure simple structure to their lives. And therefore if you can try and maintain that for the dog that is left behind, then, you know that is going to help them and there's nothing wrong with you know, giving them extra cuddles. And, you know, sometimes people kind of think, well, if here if I give them too many cuddles, it's gonna make, you know, it's gonna make them grieve for longer, or it's gonna spoil them. But, you know, when we're grieving, we all want a cuddle, don't we? So there's nothing wrong with that. But I would say that the kind of the simple thing would be try and maintain normal routine as much as possible. And they will eventually adapt, it probably will take them quite a long time. And just be patient with them. You know, if they start, they start noticing a few behavioral changes, like you know, they start soiling in the house, for example. Or they crying a bit more than usual, they start to have a little bit of separation anxiety, just be patient with them, because they will come to terms with it, as we all do, but it could take them a little bit of time.

Amy:

Thank you for that. And I really appreciate those tips. I think that's super helpful, you know, just awareness. And I think allowing people to feel okay, that they are normal, when they feel sad at the loss of a pet and I agree wholeheartedly on the tips for helping your other pets in the household. You know, giving them extra love and giving them extra cuddles, as you mentioned, is not going to, you know, do anything to their training or teach them anything negative in my opinion as well. It's just you know, we all want to feel that comfort after you know the loss of someone. Absolutely. So where can we learn more about you and what you do?

Bridget Simms:

So I have a website which drove me to get the website address. Sure. So it's www dot paws, hyphen and hyphen play.com. Or I also have a Facebook page and if you search for at K nine so the letter K the number nine healthcare without any spaces, you should be able to find my Facebook page as well. So there's there's more information on pet bereavement on on my website and as I say there will be some mass free master classes are some free tools up there as well for people.

Amy:

Well thank you so much. We appreciate your time today. We appreciate your expertise, and it's been fun getting to know you a little bit this morning.

Bridget Simms:

Thank you very much.

Amy:

All right, you guys. That's it for this week. Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate your support, and hope you go live life with your dogs this week and go on a new adventure. I love that thought from Bridget. To once a week set a goal to get out and live life with your dog in a new way. Have a great day. I'll talk to you next week. If you have a question about anything you heard on this podcast or any other puppy training question, visit my site Baxter & Bella calm to contact me