A VETERINARY practice has trained its vets, nurses and receptionists to help owners deal with the grief of losing a beloved pet.

Wilson Vets surgeries in Bishop Auckland, Spennymoor and Newton Aycliffe have become Compassion Understood accredited after undergoing training in end-of-life care for pets and their owners.

From helping clients decide when the time is right to have their pet euthanised to supporting them through their grief, the practice team has focused on how they can be more compassionate and understanding at a heartbreaking time.

The practice has also introduced some caring touches, including giving sympathy cards and Forget-me-Not seeds to clients who have their pets put to sleep.

The team gained platinum accreditation– the highest standard– on the online course.

Wilson Vets clinical director Jenni Long said: “Having a pet put to sleep is such a difficult thing to do and we want to ensure we offer the best level of care, support and service. We want to make the whole occasion as easy as possible for owners and their pets.

“It is a very emotional time and a lot of clients feel guilty about the decision, which they shouldn’t do. They want to know they are doing the right thing for their pets and that their pet is being cared for in the final minutes of life.

“Euthanasia should not be a cold process and we want to make it a positive experience for clients and help them to understand that grief is natural and that there is support for them during this sad time.

“The grieving process can be like losing a family member. We can help clients to find bereavement counselling as there is support available for pet owners.”

As well as ensuring the practice handles euthanasia and end-of-life care compassionately and sensitively, Wilson Vets is also ensuring vets, nurses and receptionists support each other during one of the most emotional procedures of their working day.

Dr Long added: “Putting pets to sleep has a real impact on team members and by the end of the day you can feel emotionally drained. However, there is also the opportunity to feel satisfied knowing a euthanasia has gone well and clients have been treated with care and compassion.”