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Pet owners to benefit from specialist bereavement support as NAWT joins ALLY® scheme


The loss of a much-loved pet can have a devastating effect on an owner’s life in many ways and feelings of intense grief, loneliness and bewilderment may even affect a person’s long-term health and wellbeing.

However there is little in the way of support for a person going through such traumatic losses, which is why the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) has become the first rescue and rehoming charity to join an innovative community-based scheme offering support to owners experiencing bereavement.

ALLY® training enables staff to help pet owners prepare, manage and adjust to the loss of their animals. The scheme has been devised by Penzance-based former palliative nurse Ali Samuels, who identified a need after losing her father and two horses in the space of five months.

She said: “My 25 years of nursing within the realms of palliative care, combined with my own personal losses, gave me the insight to recognise the parallels between my role as a nurse and what could be provided for pet owners.”

A YouGov survey undertaken for ALLY® indicates that nearly one in three pet owners would be inclined to use a service that helped them prepare, manage and adjust to the loss of their pet.

Four members of NAWT staff have been trained at the charity’s Cornwall Centre in Hayle and it is envisioned NAWT’s other four sites in the South of England will have ALLY supporters within the year.

Rescue charities, like the NAWT, deal with people experiencing all sorts of pet losses; when someone hands over an animal they can no longer keep, or when a pet dies or has been lost or stolen.

Cornwall NAWT Centre Manager Louise Clarke underwent the training. She said: “ALLY® training makes us all the more confident in dealing with pet owners who are going through the bereavement process. We’re not afraid to talk to people about it and people are telling us how much they appreciate us having discussed how they are getting on.”

The NAWT is offering support to any pet owners living locally who need support in any circumstance related to pet bereavement; they need not have rescued an animal from the centre.

NAWT CEO Clare Williams added: “The NAWT never stops caring even in such difficult times as these. Losing an animal for whatever reason can be one of the most devastating experiences of a lifetime. We see it on a daily basis and we really want to be there to offer support for pet owners in both the good and bad times.”

For further information about this service please contact Louise Clarke at the National Animal Welfare Trust Cornwall Centre on 01736 756005 or visit


15th April, 2014