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New association of pet bereavement counsellors

A new Association of Pet Bereavement Counsellors, launched in March 2024, is to introduce (self) governance to those who offer a pet bereavement counselling service.


Founded by leading UK pet bereavement counsellor Dawn Murray BCAh and fellow colleagues, the association will set the standards and encourage all members of the APBC to adhere to a Code of Conduct ensuring pet owners can access the best possible support available in the UK – pet bereavement counselling is currently unregulated.

Dawn has over 20 years’ experience supporting and counselling grieving pet owners. “An association promoting pet bereavement counsellors is long overdue,” she says. “It will hugely benefit pet owners to identify the best pet bereavement counsellors, when previously they were unsure where they could find a counsellor who specialises in pet bereavement and who can validate, reassure and truly empathise with their loss.”


The APBC, Dawn says, will be the kite mark that all pet owners should look for when sourcing pet bereavement support. Accredited members have specialist knowledge and experience in dealing with this specific type of loss pre, during and post the loss of a companion animal.


The new association is committed to promoting its members’ professionalism and ethical conduct to ensure the highest quality of care for clients, as well as promoting collaboration and co-operation among pet bereavement counsellors and other allied professionals. It encourages networking, continued professional development, peer support, and a commitment to working together with mutual respect to raise awareness and advance the field of pet bereavement counselling while improving support for clients.


Membership criteria ensure that only those with “the correct understanding, knowledge and experience can become Accredited Members”.


Dawn adds: “With over 13 million companion animals in the UK, the stark and sad reality is that many thousands of pets die every year, leaving a trail of heartbreak and overwhelming grief in their wake. The companion animal we know today is a much-loved, often spoiled but highly regarded member of the family. Not only are pet carers investing vast amounts of time and money throughout their pets’ lives, their emotional investment far exceeds the imagination.


“Sadly, when a companion animal dies, those who loved and cared for them are left floundering in a sea of grief. Additionally, pet bereavement comes under the banner of disenfranchised grief, meaning not everyone will understand or acknowledge the loss, leaving their owners feeling isolated and unsure of where they can reach out for the right support when their pets die. The pet carer can find themselves in an unfamiliar world, desperately seeking answers and guidance on how to cope as they navigate the dark and lonely world of pet bereavement. This is where the APBC will become invaluable to pet owners.”


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