Losing a pet can have a devastating effect on an owner’s life in many ways. Feelings of intense grief, loneliness and bewilderment can affect long-term health and wellbeing.

While it’s a subject many people either won’t want to think about, let alone discuss, here at NAWT we take a very different view thanks to our partnership with ALLY.

Likened to specialist support services such as Macmillan or Marie Curie nurses, ALLY’s training supports people experiencing pet loss, whether that loss is as a result of euthanasia, natural death, theft, being lost or relinquishment.

People who come into contact with our centres stand to benefit from the specialist training staff receive. One such example is Gillian, who was recommended to get in touch with our Cornwall centre in 2019 after losing both her mother, Joan, and her pet cat, Daisy (pictured below), within a few months of each other.

Stricken with grief, the idea of getting another cat was furthest from Gillian’s mind, but she followed her vet’s advice and was immediately struck by the warmth and friendliness of the team. At that time, Gillian was able to regularly visit the centre, which she did, often turning up in tears.

The team spent time with her and would take her around the cattery, introducing her to the feline friends at the centre even though she still wasn’t ready to have one of her own.  

As a result of her regular visits, Gillian began training as a volunteer, spending time with both the cats and the dogs.

Then one day Gillian spotted a little black kitten called Sheba in one of the pens, and the black cat has been her constant companion ever since.

Confident and friendly, Sheba is a very loving and active cat and often sleeps cuddled up to Gillian at night. She’s been a wonderful addition to Gillian’s life, even if she sometimes disappears for long enough to make her owner fret about her!

She said: “Although I shall always miss my Daisy, I feel blessed to have found Sheba and am very grateful to NAWT Cornwall for introducing us!

If you or someone you know is struggling with the loss of a pet, please contact our centres for support.