My name is Diana Lund. I would like to tell you why I decided to become a Pet Loss Grief Coach.
On September 11, 2001, I lost my best friend. On one of the most tragic days in our nation’s history, I suffered my own personal tragedy. I didn’t feel I could share my story with anyone because the significance of world events dwarfed my story. Only my family knew how broken I was.
On September 10th, I rushed Miss Amanda Mousington (“Mindy”), to the vet. Mindy was having trouble breathing. I had no idea what was wrong. She was only 6 years old, extremely active and never had a bad check-up with the vet. NEVER. I left Mindy with them to keep an eye on her and run a few tests.
Late on the afternoon of September 11th, Mindy’s vet called. A heart specialist was visiting the clinic and had just completed a full exam. Mindy was near death from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy - a condition that causes the walls of her heart to thicken. Her condition was too advanced for successful treatment. They were sorry.
Strangely, the vet hesitated at that point. She went on to say that the heart specialist would like to take Mindy to his university clinic in another state. He wanted to perform heart transplant surgery. Did I give my consent?
My horrible choices were to euthanize my best friend or subject her to a high risk, research oriented surgery that was certain to cause her extensive, long term pain, offered no guarantees for her future but promised learning benefits for the surgeon.
I said no, I did not give my consent. I was a flawed pet parent - I had missed the signs leading to her condition, but I wasn’t going to continue causing her pain. Heart replacement surgery could never in a million years be considered in Mindy’s best interest. The vet thanked me, said she was relieved by my decision and had hoped I would say no.
I drove by myself the few miles to the clinic, on completely deserted roads, and spent Mindy’s last moments before traveling to Rainbow Bridge with her on my lap. Before long her huge green eyes closed forever.
I was emotionally frozen. I didn’t believe I could openly grieve for Mindy because of 9/11 and was gripped with fear on many levels. How had I missed that my friend was dying? Would Mindy still be alive if I’d known about or seen the subtle signs earlier? How could I ever adopt another animal if I was so bad at taking care of the one I’d just lost? Was the world safe enough for me to care for another animal friend?
It took me nearly nine long years to work through my grief and feel safe enough to adopt another animal family member. Nine years is a long time to live with grief and fear. Way to long.
I learned that I was aware of having made mistakes, learned that animals hide signs of illness for their own safety, found the ability to forgive myself for making mistakes and began to get excited to share my future with another pet. After months of searching for a new friend and family member that needed me as much as I needed her, I found Sasha.
There are no words to describe how wonderful Sasha is. Wonderful for me and wonderful in her own right. In November 2011, Sasha became very ill. I thought, “Oh, no, no. Not again.” It was touch and go for a month or so, but thankfully Sasha recovered.
While talking with the vet about our options if Sasha didn’t respond to treatment, I realized I was a different, perhaps stronger, person than I had been nine years ago. I realized:
- I responded to this crisis with more balance and awareness.
- I’d spent years dealing with the lengthy, emotionally punishing loss of my Dad to vascular dementia.
- I really had absorbed the information about grief recovery I’d learned after losing Mindy and my Dad.
- I had skills and perspective I could share with others.
Sasha’s vet mentioned that some people don’t have anyone to talk with about how they are feeling and may not have the skills to move through processing grief. She said this is especially true for older people, who are often alone. She also said that vets aren’t well trained on dealing with grief, even though they are confronted with loss almost every day.
For a few months, I thought about how I might be able to help others who were dealing with loss of their animal family members. Maybe someone else wouldn’t have to struggle as much as I had if they were to work with me during such terrible times. I began training on how guide people to finding answers for themselves and positive solutions when they are feeling lost.
The loss of an animal family member -a friend – is one of life’s most difficult times. It is not easy to live through the swirling emotions of loss and it’s never going to be.
If you or anyone you know is lost and needs help, please talk with me. Let me help build a bridge from where you are and where you would like to be. The ideas, tasks & opportunities I will share as a Pet Loss Grief Coach can help successfully navigate the grief process.
I am a coach. I am not a licensed counselor or therapist. I will only be coaching people with living in a forward motion. If someone needs more specific care than am trained with, I will refer them to someone who is trained and licensed to deal with their issues in depth.
When you have worked through your grief with me hopefully you will be more capable of Loving Forward because you will be:
A. aware of your options;
B. able to have another companion animal in your life;
C. excited about your future.
If you know anyone that could use my services, please consider referring me. I can be found at: