Meet the therapist who helps pet owners get over the grief of losing their animals

Courtesy of The Mirror | By Rachel Spencer | 07.22.2017 | Posted 07.24.2017
We speak to therapist Shona McLean as it is revealed one in 10 pet owners has turned to counselling or anti-depressants to deal with the loss of an animal.

Therapist Shona McLean and her dog Phoebe

One in 10 animal lovers has turned to counselling or anti-depressants to deal with the loss of a pet.

A survey by Animal Friends Insurance found half of grieving pet owners felt as sad as if they had lost a relative.

And now therapists used to dealing with human loss are offering the same service for grief over an animal.

Counsellor Shona McLean, who began taking pet-bereaved clients in January, said: “Often pets are in our lives longer than a partner, so we experience grief as we would for a person.”

Pets brand found 41 per cent of dog owners spoke to their pet more than their partner, chatting for an average 47 minutes a day.

Shona helped friend Emma deal with the loss of her dog Ruby

Shona, 37, who has a greyhound called Phoebe, was inspired to help owners after a friend’s boxer got cancer.

The therapist, from Doncaster, said: “She was worried about how she and her daughter Freya, nine, would cope.

“I was unable to counsel a friend but could support her in processing her grief.

“She had a party for her dog Ruby and took her for a final run on the beach. She made sure they had memories to share.”

Emma, 37, of Gainsborough, Lincs, said: “Ruby was with me before Freya was born, and through a marriage break-up.

“I was bereft that I was losing her, and I had to manage Freya’s emotions too.”

Emma had to also manage daughter Freya’s emotional response to losing Ruby

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