Source: Mac Hafen, clinical instructor/marriage and family therapist -- College of Veterinary Medicine
REPORT: 2 Wraps
You have selected a report on the grieving process people undergo when they lose a pet, and ways to help in the healing process. The two wraps and one sound bite follow in 3,2,1. . .
WRAP 1: A K-State expert explains why some people exhibit a stronger sense of grief than others when they lose a pet
SUGGESTED INTRO: One of the strongest ties in the world is the bond that forms between a person and their beloved pet. An expert at K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine tells us why some people experience a stronger sense of grief than others when their pet passes away. Lanice Thomson reports.
PETS HAVE A WAY OF MAKING US FEEL COMFORTABLE AND LOVED, AND FOR MANY OF US, LOSING A PET CAN BE JUST AS TRAUMATIC AS LOSING A FAMILY MEMBER. DR. MAC HAFEN, CLINICAL INSTRUCTOR AT K-STATE'S COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE, SAYS FEELING A STRONG CONNECTION WITH A PET IS NOT UNCOMMON, AND THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO HAVE AN EVEN MORE PROFOUND SENSE OF GRIEF AFTER THE DEATH OF A PET. . .
(Hafen :22 "Pets may have gotten them through an illness or a particularly challenging time in their life, or they have a symbolic link to a significant person. Their pet was given to them by a significant person in their life. They may be living by themselves or otherwise isolated from others."
HAFEN SUGGESTS ONE WAY TO HELP THE HEALING PROCESS IS TO HONOR THE PET THROUGH WRITING A POEM OR MUSICAL COMPOSITION, PAINTING A PICTURE OR BY PLANTING A TREE. LANICE THOMSON, KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY.
WRAP 2: People who lose a beloved pet find solace in doing something that honors the animal
SUGGESTED INTRO: One of the strongest ties in the world is the bond that forms between a person and their beloved pet. An expert at K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine tells us it's important to honor our pets after they pass away. Lanice Thomson reports.
FOR MANY OF US, OUR PETS ARE MEMBERS OF OUR FAMILY, AND WHEN A FAMILY MEMBER DIES, WE FEEL A PROFOUND LOSS. DR. MAC HAFEN, CLINICAL INSTRUCTOR AT K-STATE'S COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE, SAYS ONE WAY WE CAN DEAL WITH OUR GRIEF IS TO FIND A WAY TO HONOR OUR PET. . .
(Hafen :17 "For the gardener, that may be finding a particular tree and planting it. For the writer, it may be developing a life sketch of the pet. For the photographer, it may be developing or creating a photo montage. For the musician it may be creating a musical tribute."
HAFEN SAYS GRIEF OVER THE LOSS OF A PET COMES IN WAVES, AND BY PERFORMING THESE ACTIONS, PET OWNERS CAN HELP BALANCE GOOD DAYS WITH EVEN THE MOST CHALLENGING TIMES. LANICE THOMSON, KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY.
ACTUALITY 1: Hurricane Katrina victims also experience loss and grief over leaving pets behind
We've all seen the horrific images on television related to Hurricane Katrina and one of the most heartbreaking images are those of pets stranded at home after their owners are evacuated. Dr. Mac Hafen is a marriage and family counselor, and is also a clinical instructor at K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine. He says feeling a strong sense of connection with a pet is not uncommon. One study, he says, reported 86 percent of pet owners view their pet as a member of the family, which he says puts some of the images we see from the Gulf Coast in perspective. This soundbite is 29 seconds and the outcue is ". . .an agonizing decision."
(HAFEN: 29 "When a person views their pet as an equal family member, asking that individual to abandon their loved one takes on a new and powerful meaning by following such a request to evacuate. That same individual is not simply leaving behind a possession that might easily be replaced, but is literally from their perspective leaving a family member who might not ever be replaced -- and within that perspective, evacuation must be an agonizing decision."
Hafen says hurricane victims who were able to escape with their pets will most likely turn to them as a source of comfort and support. He also notes that healing is possible for those who have lost pets, and feels that most of them will renew that bond with another animal once the shock and trauma has worn off.