Teresa Wagner, MS Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA
Working with people who are grieving the loss of their animal loved ones has been my life’s work since 1986. Receiving help from a trained counselor specializing in pet loss can be a deeply supportive and comforting part of our healing process as we deal with the death, or impending death, of our animal loved ones.
When we lose an animal loved one, it can feel as if we are grieving alone--people around us may not understand the magnitude of our love for our animal, the true significance of the relationship, or the depth of our grief. It can often seem like others just don't comprehend what we are going through. Even those who genuinely care about us may not truly understand what our animal means to us or the level of pain the loss brings. This can leave us feeling alienated, misunderstood, stuck or wondering if something is wrong with us at precisely the time that we most need support, understanding and acknowledgement of the significance of what we are experiencing and what we have lost.
Sometimes, even when we are blessed to have people in our life who understand our relationship with our animals, these caring people may not be skilled in listening without imposing unsolicited opinions, advice or platitudes, or may not have the knowledge or skill to help us through overwhelming feelings such as anguish and guilt, in making those heartbreaking decisions about end-of-life, or feeling stuck in our grief and not knowing how to get through it.
It can be extremely valuable and healing to have one-on-one time with a trained and skilled counselor with a specialty in pet loss who can provide us with:
• A safe place to tell our story, one-on-one, without interruption, with someone who cares, who understands, who listens attentively and will not judge our decisions or how we feel, how long we’ve been grieving or how we are grieving.
• Loving acknowledgement of the depth of our bond with animals and the true scope of our loss, or impending loss, helping us know we are not alone, and certainly not crazy or somehow wrong to love and mourn for our beloved animals as much as we do.
• Support and guidance for the anxiety, stress and challenge of dealing with terminal illnesses, anticipatory grief and making end-of-life decisions.
• A safe place to express any and all of our feelings, to have someone listen to all that is in our heart—however strong, confusing, contradictory, or overwhelming our feelings may seem at times—and have them accepted without judgement, with love, compassion, empathy and understanding.
• Support and professional guidance to work through the very common, challenging and often overwhelming issues of despair and guilt (i.e., feeling like we may never get through the overwhelming pain, questioning whether we did enough for them, made the right choices, made those choices in the right timing)
• Tools and guidance for everyday coping with the despair of loss and for long term healing to find peace, meaning and growth. These tools may include providing insights, expressive art therapy, guided visualizations and meditations, EFT (tapping to release the intensity of pain), journaling and other written exercises—and would be suggested and offered when the counselor believes they would be relevant and helpful, but never imposed.
• Perhaps most of all, having a person who deeply cares, understands and who will not attempt to pacify us with platitudes or impose their own religious, spiritual or new age beliefs about how we are supposed to view animals, our loss, or how we are supposed to heal. Having a compassionately skilled, unconditionally loving witness to our loss, our grief and our process of healing can make all the difference in how we heal our hearts and come closer to finding peace.
For those who desire it, these sessions can also include communication with their animal: https://animalsinourhearts.com/consultations/types-of-consultations/communication.html
Fees: 30 minutes $98 60 minutes $195
Discounts for multiple one hour sessions, paid in advance (these include free Legacies of Love 8-session pet loss workshop):
3 sessions $495 ($90 savings--would be $585 full price; must be used within 12 months)
6 sessions $995 ($175 savings--would be $1,170 full price; must be used within 18 months)
10 sessions $1,700 ($250 savings--would be $1,950 full price; must be used within 2 years)
Teresa has a masters degree in counseling psychology and is the author of the pet loss audio book, Legacies of Love, and founder of The Animal Loss and Grief Support Institute. https://pet-loss-grief-counseling-certification.com/
She has been offering pet loss grief counseling and workshops since 1986. Please see full bio:
teresa wagner, grief counselorSend Message
How do you serve precious pets?
- Pet Loss Grief Counseling
How do you help pet parents honor the lives of their pets and cope with difficult loss?
- Pet Loss Grief Counseling
What part of the animal kingdom do you serve?
- Guinea Pigs
What licensing do you have?
- Business License
On a scale of snail to elephant, what size animals do you work with?
- under 20 lbs
- 20-39 lbs
- 40-79 lbs
- 80+ lbs
Cat-astrophes happen! What is your cancellation policy?
- 48 hours notice required
Without pet parents, Petmasters wouldn't exist. What discount do you offer our dedicated members? (e.g. 20% off their first session, etc.)
Three-session packages are discounted $90 and include the following: Legacies of Love audio book https://animalsinourhearts.com/store/books/legacies-of-love.html and Legacies of Love 4-session workshop: https://pet-loss-grief-counseling-certification.com/class-healing-pet-loss-workshop/
Which part of the country do you serve pets?
Worldwide via phone or Skype
What year did you begin serving pets?
How did you hone your craft?
What tip would you give pet parents for working with animals that you've learned as a pro?
Your healing from losing a beloved animal is as important as your love for them.
What is one thing you want pet parents to know about you? It can be whatev-fur you'd like!
Helping animals and the people who love them are the focus of my life's work