• Laura Owens

Dr. Guy Winch: …how to cope with the loss of a pet

Nobody Told Me! – Dr. Guy Winch: …how to cope with the loss of a pet (National Dog Day special episode)

Hosts Jan Black and Laura Owens talk to Dr. Guy Winch about the healing from the loss of a pet.

Dr. Guy Winch is the author of How to Fix a Broken Heart that aims to help people cope after a break-up or death of someone they love. Dr. Guy Winch is offering his expertise as a licensed psychologist to help people deal with the loss of a pet. He genuinely believes that we need to integrate the science of emotional health into every aspect of our daily lives.

  • [0:50] – How Dr. Guy Winch became interested in people who are grieving the loss of a pet, he noticed in his practice that patients would visit after the loss of a pet and they are devastated.

  • [1:09] – Dr. Winch looked at the research of those who are grieving the loss of a pet and discovered that they are feeling the same pain as if they lost a first degree relative like a parent or sibling.

  • [2:07] – Dr. Winch states that because society doesn’t take the loss of a pet seriously, when we lose a pet, we never fully go through our grieving process for that precious life.

  • [3:05] – Dr. Winch shares his experience of losing a pet and how unique it was.

  • [5:21] – Dr. Winch talks about the guilt that is associated with separating from a pet. The guilt complicates how we go through the grieving process.

  • [7:14] – Dr. Winch speaks about how all pets function as therapy animals to an extent.

  • [8:23] – Adopting a senior dog or animal is rescuing that animal and Dr. Winch speaks about how having a rescue is perfect for children at home.

  • [12:27] – Dr. Winch informs us how pets impact our self-esteem and well-being. For some, when a pet dies, we lose our whole family who lives with us. So, we come home to an empty house and this can ramp up our loneliness and depression.

  • [15:05] – Dr. Winch talks about when it is the right time to get another pet after one passes. He adds that getting a new pet is a great way to help preserve the memory of the one that passed and help with the grief that you are experiencing.

  • [17:26] – Dr. Winch speaks about how pet owners identify animals as part of the family and they should know that when they die it is equal to losing a family member. There is nothing wrong with grieving over the loss of an animal.

  • [19:35] – Dr. Winch shares that we need to express to our family and friends who do not understand why we are grieving over the loss of an animal. Share how this animal was such an integrated part of our lives and to give examples of how they got you through tough times.

  • [22:07] – Dr. Winch describes the different stages of grief that we go through when we lose a pet and how it is similar when we lose a human loved one.

  • [25:06] – Dr. Winch talks about rituals that give us comfort for processing our feelings towards losing that pet. Whatever that ritual is, the main criteria is to give us comfort and, hopefully, involve other people who can give you support.

  • [27:38] – Dr. Winch advises allowing children to grieve and letting them know that it is good to grieve. Allow children to express their emotions and to validate their emotions.

  • [30:17] – Dr. Winch talks about ways to memorialize pets and there is nothing wrong with small tokens to remind ourselves of this beloved pet.

  • [32:09] – Nobody Told Me! – For Dr. Winch, nobody told him how hard the loss of a pet could be and if you are never exposed to that grief then it can be a shock.

  • [33:18] – Dr. Winch suggests resources to seek out for dealing with pet loss.

  • [34:29] – Dr. Guy Winch’s contact information.

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