New research has revealed that nearly two thirds of people feel uncomfortable when asking their boss for time off following the death of a pet.
A survey carried out by Cats Protection found that 73 percent of pet owners feel it can be as difficult and upsetting grieving for a pet as it is grieving for the loss of a person, while over half of people feel ashamed of their grief for a pet.
As many as 60 percent of those surveyed said they thought time off should be allowed for the loss of a pet while 58 percent said they were scared to ask for time of to grieve a pet.
To coincide with Grief Awareness Day, Cats Protection has partnered with Deborah Meaden to promote its grief support service, Paws to Listen, encouraging more people to use the free and confidential support line.
Dragon’s Den star Meaden is a well-known cat lover with two of her own, named Storm and Blade and says she fully understands pet grief.
Meaden said: “I know how hard it is when a pet dies. The loss you feel can be deeply traumatic and I have found it difficult to function for a couple of days afterwards because I’ve been so upset. I think Paws to Listen is a much needed service for people who want to talk to someone about how they feel.
“I don’t think firms fully appreciate how devastated someone can feel after they’ve lost their pet. I would like to see companies begin to recognise that for many, their grief can be just as strong as it is losing a relative or friend. I hope businesses start allowing their workforce time to deal with the emotional impact that it can have, rather than dismissing it as ‘just a pet’ and to highlight services like Paws to Listen as a way of supporting their staff during a difficult time.”
She added: “It would be wonderful on Grief Awareness Day to start a meaningful debate on this issue and for more people to recognise the pain that so many owners feel when they’ve lost an animal. This survey highlights that many people are still afraid to discuss this very painful issue at work. We must become better at listening and empathising more, especially as we are known as a country that loves animals.”
Paws to Listen volunteer, Bob Parsons, said: “Callers that I have spoken with have invariably indicated that they felt closer to their pet, they had felt needed and loved, and most had felt they couldn’t talk to friends, family or colleagues about their loss. Our service is designed to help owners move forward and find the best way to remember their pet.”