The death of a pet can be devastating - but help is at hand

A correspondent remembers the confusion over a cats gender  until he had kittens. See letter
A correspondent remembers the confusion over a cats gender  until he had kittens. See letter

Anyone who has lost a beloved pet - whether after a long illness or accident -  will know just how hard it can be coming to terms with your grief.

Here at the Samaritans in Pendle, Burnley, Craven & Rossendale we've teamed up with the caring team at Stanley House vets to help pet owners through the sad times of saying a final farewell to a much-loved pet.

Staff at Stanley House - from the vets and veterinary nurses to reception staff - have already undergone specialist training from the Samaritans to help them support those who have to make the hard decision to have their pet put to sleep or receive the news that the animal they love has a life-limiting illness.

Now the Samaritans and veterinary practice - which has branches in Burnley,Colne and Barnoldswick - have taken their partnership a step further and, due to public demand, have organised two drop-in support sessions at the Samaritans' headquarters in Market Square, Nelson. The sessions will run on Wednesday, September 28th, from 2-4pm and again from 6-8pm, with staff from Stanley House and trained Samaritan volunteers on hand to chat and offer a listening ear.

Ian Hartley, director of the local Samaritans, said: "Many, many people get in touch with the Samaritans after the loss of a pet. An animal will offer you inconditional love or may have been a constant companion over the years so their loss is devastating and can leave owners bereft. Here at the Samaritans we help people to work through their emotions following their bereavement and provide a listening ear if they want to share their feelings over their loss."

A Stanley House spokesman hoped the drop-in sessions would provide an opportunity to talk to others who have been through the same experience. "It's not just you who is feeling such sadness, Anyonewho has lost a pet knows how devastating it is - after all they are part of your family.

"When they die, we still need to go through the grieving process which is different for everyone. People often will say 'it's only a cat or it's only a dog - you'll soon get over it'. But that is not always the case - it does take time and a long time in many cases."

There's no need to book for the support sessions, you can just turn up on the day. There'll be a warm welcome for you, with refreshments. If you feel you need to talk to the Samaritans before then, we're available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 116 123 (that number's free to call and won't show up on your bill) or you can email jo@samaritans.org