Grieving for a lost pet can be just as deep as a family member, according to counsellor Vicky Nonas.
Offering pet counselling and pet loss support from her business By My Side at Luddenham, Ms Nonas’ decision to enter pet counselling was a personal one following the death of her dog, Boof.
“He came into my life when I was 15 and stayed with me until I was 38-years-old,” she said.
“He lived a long life and grew up with me by my side… he was my rock, my companion, my world.
“When I lost him, I couldn’t have anticipated how it would affect me. My world fell apart for about 18 months.”
Having lost two brothers prior, Boof was the last connection she had to her family.
“I wasn’t prepared for the shock. Just because they’re on four legs doesn’t mean they are any different, grief is grief,” she said.
Becoming a counsellor was always a dream of Ms Nonas, having first applied for the course when she was 21-years-old, only to be knocked back.
At 43-years old she saw the opportunity to reinvent herself after she lost her best friend to lung cancer.
Ms Nonas believes that our pets are members of the family as they faithfully accompany us by providing loving comfort and unconditional support.
“There is such a need for this,” she said.
Ms Nonas also offers online sessions for patients unable to travel and is available to accompany people with their pets to vet appointments during terminal diagnosis. For more information, visit www.bymyside.net.au.
Emily Newton is the Weekender’s police and political reporter. Emily is also the Weekender’s Senior Journalist.