To honor the lives of animals that have passed, the Together In Grief, Easing Recovery (TIGER) program will host its third annual Companion Animal Memorial Event at 11 a.m. May 2 at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine.
The TIGER program was launched in an effort to help people work through their emotions after losing their pets. The program assists with many aspects of companion animal loss, including family counseling, resources to help people cope with the loss of an animal and training for veterinary clinicians and students.
“Memorialization is a very special part of the grief process,” said Francesca Tocco, who designed the program. “It can be comforting to be in a room with like-minded individuals who recognize that a pet can be a family member and a best friend.”
Tocco is a doctoral candidate in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing and the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction (ReCHAI) at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine.
Speakers at the event will include Carolyn Henry, DVM, associate dean for the CVM Office of Research and Graduate Studies and a professor of veterinary oncology, and Chad Johannes, DVM, medical director for Kansas City, Kansas-based Aratana Therapeutics Inc., a pet therapeutics company.
Participants are encouraged to bring a memento of their pet to share during the event.
“All who have ever loved a companion animal know the pain of losing them,” said ReCHAI Director Rebecca Johnson, RN, Ph.D. “Our memorial event gives people a chance to remember, to share and to heal.”
Dr. Johnson is also a professor at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine and the Millsap Professor of Gerontological Nursing in the Sinclair School of Nursing.
The TIGER program also recently formed a pet loss support and grief group. Upcoming meetings are scheduled for 2-3 p.m. on April 25, May 9 and May 23 at the Adams Conference Center.