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Exploring the Grief Experience Among Bereaved Pet Owners

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Title: Exploring the Grief Experience Among Bereaved Pet Owners
Author: Rémillard, Liam; Meehan, Michael; Coe, Jason; Kelton, David
Department: Department of Population Medicine
Program: Population Medicine
Advisor: Meehan, Michael
Abstract: This thesis is an exploration of the grief that pet owners experience resulting from the death of pet with attention towards complicated grief. The first study involved a content analysis of 75 call notes recorded by volunteers of the Ontario Veterinary College Guelph Pet Loss Support Hotline following contact with bereaved pet owners from 2011 to 2012. Themes included; personal narrative, the grief experience, perceived social support; positive and negative emotions, callers’ relationship with their pet, memorialization, coping methods, difficulty with euthanasia, and interaction with veterinary staff. The second study, a retrospective cross-sectional survey of 681 Canadian pet owners identified factors associated with complicated grief. Results indicate that individuals with low perceived social support and an anxious style of attachment with their pet are more likely to experience complicated grief following the death of their pet. Thesis findings enhance the understanding of factors associated with grief and complicated grief.
Date: 2014-08
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