Living With Pet Bereavement
1704. Dawn Murray
Dawn Murray, from West Lothian, is the UK’s leading pet bereavement counsellor who runs initiative ‘Living With Pet Bereavement’, providing resources and guidance to hundreds of families every year to support them through the loss of much loved pets.
Dawn has been working in the field of pet counselling for over 17 years, and over lockdown has seen an increase of 20% in calls to the charity from owners who have developed even stronger attachments with the pets during the pandemic. The charity offers support not just to owners during and following the loss of a pet, but also before a prospective loss, providing advice on how to prepare for different situations, the euthanasia process, and practical matters such as burial. Dawn has also produced a range of resources and guidance for families on how to grieve, particularly for helping children cope with a loss, self-publishing a further guide on pet bereavement in April 2021. In addition to ‘Living with Pet Bereavement’, Dawn also runs ‘Ray of Hope’ appeal, a fundraising campaign in aid of animal welfare charities.
In a personal letter to Dawn, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Pet loss is devastating at any time but it has been especially difficult during lockdown where beloved pets have been a huge source of comfort and companionship.
“Pet loss can also be particularly difficult for children, for whom it is often the first experience of grief. So it is fantastic that you have found ways to support people virtually over the last eighteen months and offer sympathy, guidance and understanding.”
In response to receiving the award, Dawn said:
“I am absolutely delighted to be the recipient of the Points of Light Award. I’m truly humbled to be recognised for such a prestigious award for the work I do at Living with Pet Bereavement, and I would like to thank the Prime Minister and everyone at Points of Light. From time to time we can all do with a little extra support, none more so, than when grieving the loss of a much-loved companion animal. Being in a position to support pet carers pre, during and post the loss of their companion animal is an honour and a privilege and I will continue to support pet carers during their darkest days. Remembering all the much-loved companion animals no longer with us.”