A RHONDDA Valley veterinary practice is helping owners to deal with the grief and distress of losing a beloved pet.
Vets, nurses and receptionists at Robin Lewis & Associates in Station Street, Penygraig, have undergone special training in end-of-life care to ensure owners have all the support they need to cope with the sadness of losing a pet.
From helping clients decide when the time is right to have their pet put to sleep to supporting them through their grief, the practice team has focused on how they can be more compassionate and understanding at the most heartbreaking time.
They have now become a Compassion Understood accredited practice after undergoing training in end-of-life care for pets and their owners.
The whole Robin Lewis & Associates team of two vets, two nurses, practice manager and receptionist studied the online course, achieving platinum accreditation.
The course helps practices handle euthanasia and end-of-life care compassionately and sensitively, while also ensuring they support each other during one of the most emotional procedures in the course of their working day.
Robin Lewis & Associates practice manager Sadie Srivastava said: “Putting pets to sleep is a sad part of working in a veterinary practice and it is important that we offer the kindest and most caring service to our clients.
“The client’s journey begins way before their pet is put to sleep so it is essential that the whole team immersed themselves in the training course, not just the vets who administer a final injection.
“The course helped us to focus on the importance of supporting clients before, during and after euthanasia, as it is probably one of the hardest decisions to make as a pet owner, especially when a pet might be the only thing they have in their lives.
“It also highlighted a range of different emotions a client can show during this time, so we can approach every situation with even more understanding.”
Anyone coming into the practice, which is part of VetPartners, will now see a candle on the reception desk and a notice requesting that clients in the waiting room speak softly if it is lit because it means a pet is being put to sleep in a nearby consult room.
The practice also offers home visits to put pets to sleep instead of owners bringing their pets to the practice.
The Compassion Understood course also encouraged practice team members to support each other because euthanasia is a daily part of their working life.
Sadie added: “We set up weekly meetings to support our team. Sadly, we do sometimes have to put multiple pets to sleep on the same day. It is a part of our profession, but it still takes its toll emotionally as we build strong relationships with clients and have a bond with their pet. We also use that time to discuss ways we can improve our service further.”
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