Jun 12, 2014|
Angela talks with grief counselor Sharon Henry of Heaven's Pets about grieving for a lost pet.
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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
Well I have to tell you I do feel better after that last hour I was aggravated when we started because I think that the very thought of those lights going off from the bridges is not. And to think that the young leadership council is once again coming together as they have for well over twenty years now. Not to do the right thing we're gonna stay in touch with them and we're -- I'm just thinking very positive thoughts as our day. About not only keeping the lights on but even making them more beautiful. And JP morale thank you so much for that hour. All right now we are gonna shift. For most of us a pet is part of the -- They love us they need us and are part of our lives. So when we lose a pat it is a death we grieve as the loss that is in our lives. Not everyone understands the pain we may be feeling and that sometimes that can only add to the sentence. But the depth of the -- can impact our lives for a while. How best to go through the grieving process. That's what we're going to talk about with Sharon Henry. A licensed clinical social worker and grief counselor at heaven's pets which of course is lake -- funeral home in Metairie. And I really hope that you will be part of this conversation. Give us call at 260187. Day and tell us how you have cope with the loss of the -- Or even what your pet meant in your life. I've wanted to talk about this for a while because. I'm so thrilled with heaven's pets ten years ago came up with the idea of having greetings sent because ball leave and not only myself but so many people and now. When they'd lose a -- in his death the state. It is it is a member of the -- I would like to start with them with asking you know for sure your your work tested the so meaningful. But at times very tough. Yes. I'm so grateful that I've had the opportunity to. Facilitate the grief group over these past twelve years twelve years -- yeah. Yeah and just to be able to. Meet people at such time of deep grief and mourning and loss. It's a privilege to meet but what is really. So helpful is that in having a group. There are other people there who are experiencing the same thing because sometimes. The person who has lost her below that companion. Starts wondering if she's going crazy because she's since so much pain and the suffering is unfathomable. And it's such a comfort that there are other people going through the same thing and they understand each other. So. It's really the group that helps and I'm very lucky to be there being part of -- in facilitating. All of those years what do you think it is about this human bond connection that we do have with animals. On what I believe that the news is that. Our animals. Have the capacity to give us unconditional love. And as humans we cannot. Do that. And we're always looking forward and we think that our partner our mothers somebody should be giving it to us. When Nolan can't we're not built that way. But your -- companion. Hand keeps you unconditional love. And so. When you have experienced that. In you losing it. I believe it leaves a hole in your heart that -- physical and emotional pain. So that's that's one of the reasons it's such a difficult burden. You know I've been reading some things are about ten heaven's pets and and some of your reflections on some of the people that have come through. That. And it was such an important part of their life that it even though it's been a long passing they're still coming to yes -- I have regulars. -- -- that's good yet it is. It's and right now I'm the person I think -- You'd make you'd like to hear about first. Is a guy whose name is scary and he started coming two years ago. He lost his mother his father. And then within six months his Golden Retriever. Died unexpectedly. And he was an only child. So he had. But in the he'd lost everything. And he was not used to being alone when he the dog had been waiting for him at the door every day when -- came home from work and went everywhere with him. And he was very active in pet rescue groups. And one of his friends called month and says we need you to take this dog just for the weekend. Because otherwise he's going to be euthanized. And then the person who will Foster him will be back in town and he said okay. Well guess for that -- -- today two years later. He he comes to everyone in my sections. With the dog duke. And he'd trained to to be a visiting. Therapy dog himself he he didn't have the time to go through visiting pets program so he just does -- on its -- And com. Kyrie was grieving so seriously. And so long. He really couldn't even pick up the crew -- for the longest longest time. But what happened was through use adopt teams duke. -- saved his life and he say Duke's life and now and now. Duke comes to work at our meetings and he'll immediately plopped down on the floor. And you know ignore all of us and then someone will start becoming very emotional and cry. And duke gets -- but he looks around and he walks over kneels in front of that person puts his paw on their knees and looks up. And yes it all just -- and personal go. Goodness he understands. What. So he does understand he does recently I read an article that -- dogs and I don't know if it pertains to all animals. But dogs have the same. Voice. Sensory system that humans do that can detect. -- It's true when it feels like they understand you need to. It is that is beautiful statement. And I think we've hopefully everyone has had a pet or two. Where you sense that you know this campus don't understand sunset. Understands -- hurt -- understands. And if you liberals just abdominal it's not. Not a -- as a matter of fact I think that. We are the dumb animals would become this we we don't really know. What capacities they have we don't have the ability. -- you know -- understand all that they are all that they comprehend. So then maybe we may be on some states. We are talking with Sharon Henry who was. Got a master's of social work but she is a grief counselor at heaven's pets and we're going to take a break but come back. And we're gonna talk about how do you begin the grieving process. Right after this I -- salon WW. Have you ever lost a pet if you have you know how painful that can be. And just like you're losing another member of the family you go through a process of real grieving process. Some struggle more than others and that's why there is this phenomenal thing you lose a pet. At heaven's pets which is -- -- -- funeral and they once a month. Sharon Henry is -- of grief counselor Sherron is our guest today. So once a month you meet yes it is the first Tuesday of the second to second Tuesday at what time 7 PM at seventeen. So in industry. It's free absolutely free open to anybody. We'd like for people to call. Heaven's pets and say that their coming. So I have an idea because they're too many people we have to comedian parlor and funeral home okay otherwise heaven's pets has its own free standing building on the grounds. I'm I'm encouraged that people. Now understand the impact of a loss of a pat on on it is and dismissed any -- over just the dog absolutely. And what I've seen over these years. Is that when people came in the beginning years there were very few others who understood it. How grief with some loss this wise. As time has progressed. People get greeting -- mean sympathy cards from friends from neighbors. So the general public has become more understanding and aware accepting and supportive. Of a -- loss. And that is very important because if you again and many have. You -- your dog -- cat to death and then you know you go to work the next day Europe's this -- harmful when people -- Yeah in a lot of pop up you know -- know I'm hurting right but a lot of people can even go to work -- -- -- right because they can't stop crying. That's -- and a lot of very loving employers. Give him -- day off via mail and and appreciate limited this is a hate talk about myself but. Years ago I used to feed cat at channel four. And the security guy guard denied who were very good friends with a disconnect it and talk about for years she was very much a part of our lives. And it's -- it's 5:30 am getting ready to go up to 6 o'clock -- and someone said are you aware that the captain -- so what are you talking about the hit put rat poison down to the two have been -- masked problems the -- to the net. I've got up to the set. I sat there for about ten or fifteen minutes. Now it's like ten minutes before the news and I couldn't do it and I think that I walked away. And thank Kevin ahead co anchor but like I could not do it right and and I understood then the power not that I hadn't had losses before. But then immediate thing of my life isn't gonna go on for the next several hours I'm gonna sit in my office and -- Absolutely yeah yeah and that's. Healthy thing to do. Is for several hours and several days to stop right and that's normal and that's part of the grief groups. Function. Is to normalize. Some of the -- As people come worry. That it's too much -- too long and I can kinda normalized that for them. When you look at someone who's had there companion for fourteen years in nineteen years. And you know. Particularly single people people who don't have children. These -- their babies. And this is who's waiting when you come home and sit in in the window looking for you. So it's a very. Profound. Event that happens to you. And typically. It's like 66. Months. You know feeling. A lot of pain not -- -- crying every day as you are in the beginning. But it takes six months just physiologically. To like change your body because -- body is so accustomed to not stepping on your pad. You know. Feeding down all of these little we have to change the routine yeah. That are part of every cell in your body so chest that. Change in your life. Takes time for your body to accommodate -- Think that is a very interesting I wouldn't of thought that downed the cellular level right. It is the it is the void it is the -- not there the as you lose anybody apparent to friend -- you expect the phone to ring where you expect the dog to be very expect the cat to walk by. And it's and it's not and you're always trying not to step on -- they shadow you content it so in the group you sit down and began. Yet we began. With introductions. And you know what -- loss and you know people go around and talk and it may take a long time to get to everybody because someone absolutely. Needs to be telling their story. Right now. And a one saying why. I decided to do this why I started. I've been in practice almost forty years. And throughout the years. People would be seeing me for various problems. But they were what would happen at the same time in their lives is that they were struggling with the decision. Of putting there -- kept down. And this is what we talked about for many many sections. And so I knew who. That this was a serious issues that affected people's lives. So when my next door neighbor Jennifer million started heaven's pets and asked me if I would do the group that's absolutely. There it is such a neat but it's. So that was you know more than coincidental that we were next door neighbors when itself. That is just came about twelve years later -- you are doing all right. If prop does it take a a personal while to get to the point where they'll say I'm I'm gonna go sit with that group. It does some people come immediately and others can't come sometimes people come and Gabriel. Come up to the door. And they can't make Indian. -- -- -- down dared to speak crying so hard and even if I go outside and you know. Welcome whatever -- did you -- they're not ready. And then. Some people make Indian and they can't talk because they just -- their deep throat is -- recline with -- -- the -- And soon they'll come -- and adjusts it and for some people it's just a one time event. Some people come 3456. Months and some people come for a long time. And and a woman who came with her husband because they've lost that Scotty in this was way back in the beginning. And they came for about a whole years in. Guess where she works now patents. -- helping other -- today with this everyone and again don't hesitate to give us a call you're sitting there listening in him any questions for sharing. Or any experience you want to share we'd love to hear from 2601870. Now let's go to the newsroom. We are talking with Sharon Henry who -- -- grief counselor. With heaven's pets and it's all about how he handled the loss of that yet. It is such a wonderful human thing to feel is deeply as we do about our pets. But with that comes the pain of the loss. And I tell people that great love is always associated with great loss. And you know people wonder if there ever conceive their -- again and this is another thing and you know I disabled here's my belief. And my belief is love is Salter is The Beatles had it -- -- to solve their news and our. Companions. Largest pure love and love to -- -- it exist so of course we will see him once again. And I just think that once she knows that I think that helps because then the grieving. Do you find that -- in the processes that is their talking. It's not just their sadness is sometimes is their guilt of I should've done X or -- in the having to that's what he mainly talked about really yeah. Because without fail. Every. Person who's ever come and we're talking. At you know more than a thousand people because I used to do several groups -- more than a thousand people have come and every single person is guilty. The -- are beating themselves up 'cause they did not do enough even though they spent every penny they had. And at the lay on the floor at night next to the parent. The end you know. -- their lives around the pet's needs they they didn't do enough. Or the perhaps put them down too soon and the -- -- had another a couple of days. Or they are guilty because they were to South -- and kept it alive too long and perhaps he was in pain so. Everybody is guilty. And it doesn't matter -- the reality. Of the fact guilty it's just part of it. And what I tell them is that you -- it was only -- nothing of -- Would not have you -- now. Is. Sending down love from the and hoping to put that love and all around you. And the most important thing you can do -- say good bye to your guilt because it's not attribute to your pact to be doing nets. You know I'm talking about. My mother died a year and a half ago almost two years. But she had a camp Lester who was the focus of her life. In her final years and the cat. Absolutely knew what was going on and he would sleep across her stomach asleep on top of her hand. He was. Very -- -- -- 22 years ago. And my sister and I would go that often they could see my mother and she is failing and -- and we would have this conversation of pleased to god. Let her go first so she doesn't see him -- -- it was all that. This is the guilt I have my mother died but the -- the cat did die before. She was unaware of which was a good thing. But that cat. The last time my side. Walked up to me and is meowing while I mean in a striking thing. I now know that cat was saying. I'm very very sick get me to the event. I left. I'm still thinking the -- talking about my mother. Because he was always talking about her mother and it's only been in the last years so I I realized oh my -- now. He was saying I'm in pain ultimately the cat was taken the -- and immediately put down the -- was very. I was so focused on my mother to -- and so like I know intellectually. But I'm home to. By that sound I can hear him. I know that's not only talking and reading quicker and hopefully the thousands of people but I think we. Needed to say that AT and right and and. I'm glad that she did because that thousands out there. Are you know harboring that type of -- themselves over something they perceive they did or didn't do. And in situations in life we really do the best we can with what we have. And if we could have done any differently we would have. And that's really really true and like you said you were so focused on your mother that you missed interpret it. Okay yes. So. It's now it's a year that you didn't used to -- that it's a year that you yes beating yourself up to -- yeah. So what I would. I would ask for you but it's the cats named Lester I would I think that blaster. Would ass. You'd say good bye to kilt and and you. Can managed to do that with what's called thought stop beaten -- not substitution. And each time you catch the dot com mean again and the feeling coming again. You switch yourself to a feeling of gratitude. And that could be of gratitude for the masters 22 year. Job being your mother's loving companion. And for being there almost till the end or until she was no longer aware. I'm in and then gratitude for anything else in your life. We find that gratitude. Is the easiest positive emotion to switch to. And I recommend making -- gratitude. List but it could also be a little glad to gratitude folder or something on your phone you can look at. Pictures. Remembering funny that western -- it. But anything in your life that you grateful for I was telling you just few minutes ago about the health scare that I had in January. And one of my gratitude that's thinks I am so. Grateful for medical professionals who do research. And who work on healing process. And so when I'm going on in my mind about you know anything -- man said bad about it. I'll have to do is think about their medical profession. And it's gone and I feel better. So. As a gift to last year I would ask if he'd consider doing the gratitude project. It will be done by tonight. Good -- because and there's a reason that -- here and I I can't thank you enough for that we're gonna take another break and we're gonna continue our talk about. Grieving and our pets -- an activist. Apple again we're talking -- Aaron Henry who was -- grief counselor at John heaven's pets part of lake lawn funeral home. And every second Tuesday but she has a free. Grief counseling session for anyone who would like to go she would like you to call to social have a number -- But it helps and that's the bottom line issue when a family loses a patent and people in the family handled differently. That most. Cost some conflicts. Yes it does. Because there will invariably be the family member news says. It's just a dog get another one in you being ridiculous. And so -- -- person particularly benefits from coming to the group. And perhaps learning how to deal with the person -- so sympathetic. Right let's talk about. When is the best time to get and it. -- that's such tough questions and Angela. Best times when you're ready. In. For many people that's going to be a long time. People and apparently he year I cannot. Take this campaign against and never getting another pet. And civic groups splits in half half of them come back the next month and well let me show you the picture of my new -- And the other half he takes a long time and perhaps they don't get another one. But you know and a lot of times it's like a little miracle happens like happened with duke and -- Do you need need to be saved and -- need to be saved. And other times. You know maybe some pieces can you just take this can't just. -- And of course you -- Into the heart into the heart yet. One time. Another problem is for people who are elderly. They are very worried that giving another -- because they feared that are there. It's pretty likely that they're probably gonna dive for the practice. And what's gonna happen to the hat says oh. That's. You know an issue that can they find someone who agreed to take the -- Afterwards that they have to worry about. A lot of times. You just something happens and you know you Britney. So right there's not there's not any set date rate right now mound. So the bottom line is -- getting pet doesn't resolve the grief. Of the loss of the other -- -- and a monetary about one Fella who came for more than a year. And he had lost Hughes beloved dog people. And -- he would come to every need dean pictures of people. Talk a little. Worried that he could never get another patent. Partly. I don't know that he was able to articulate this that he felt ten. It appeared to -- that getting another -- felt like being. Disloyal to people. And so. -- out fourteen months after bullet died. This -- com's -- and he's not carrying usual photos or anything he thinks small island states. Here's the most beautiful story. His debt had called him up and said we've been saving this dog for you. And we believe you are ready now. And you know we've taken care of all its medical problems. And he needs the home and we pick two. So he went and picked up gumbo. Again was marriage made in heaven and that was them last time I saw him. Oh my gosh you know and wonder -- -- is -- isn't that a great thing that the veterinarian. School I'm sure he had a great relationship with this country took great care bullet he did. Right would know him well enough that this would be a good match yes -- that's. Impressive right. -- it just amazes me the wonderful people in the -- profession. And like that caring vets and the technicians. It's it's just amazing feats such good people such good people and such good people at shelters I have to say is there an awful lot of dogs and cats looking for a home -- -- -- out there in your thinking maybe now is the time. Now is the time go to a shelter. Sharon Henry your extraordinary you really are born to do what you do. And I thank you personally and I thank you for all the others out there who are listening I know you helped them. Again it is heaven's pets it's the second Tuesday at 7 o'clock 7 o'clock it's free if you need help it's there. Stay with us we'll be right. Want to thank you for staying with this all three shows please join us again tomorrow have a good.