Unleashed Love: WNC Man Starts Pet Bereavement Support Group - WSPA.com

Unleashed Love: WNC Man Starts Pet Bereavement Support Group

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Clarke Poole is organizing a pet loss support group in Henderson County. Clarke Poole is organizing a pet loss support group in Henderson County.
HENDERSON COUNTY, N.C. -

They can be like friends or family, and the death of a pet can often hurt as much as the loss of a person.

"When you lose a family member or dear friend, you got all kinds of support. There are funerals, wakes, and memorial services but when you lose a pet, people don't know how to deal with it," said Clark Poole.

Poole is a retired therapist and now volunteers with Four Seasons in Henderson County. Through his work, Poole has encountered many people experiencing grief following the death of a pet.

That's why Poole is organizing a support group with the help of Four Seasons. He says it will be the first of its kind in Henderson County, and a relief for people like Maureen Duemig who lost her dog six months ago.

"We had to euthanize her because she had cancer throughout her body," Duemig said.

She is planning on attending the first Pet Bereavement Support Group meeting on Thursday.

"It is nice to talk about her. It brings a tear to my eye, but at least she will always be remembered."

Duemig says it can sometimes be hard to deal with the emotions surrounding the loss of her 11-year-old Golden Retriever Lab mix named Angel.

Those feelings are referred to as disenfranchised grief. A term used by healthcare professionals to describe grief that isn't acknowledged by society.

"People will say, ‘oh it's just a pet,' and so that can make it even harder to work through that kind of loss," according to Mark Neville, coordinator of bereavement services with Four Seasons.

As for Poole, he is hoping the group will not only provide comfort to animal lovers, but will also help them educate others about the real grief associated with losing a four-legged companion

For more information, contact Poole at 828-458-9391 or clarkepoole@yahoo.com

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