We currently do not have any formal program in place. I know that all of our staff has had personal loss, even myself. One of the things that stands out to me is the loss of shelter animals on staff. We are a no kill shelter, but of course due to safety or legal reasons we must euthanize. We have one staff member in particular that worked with a dog, grew to love the dog, made videos and took photos for social media, and got the dog adopted. The dog was returned to us and had to be euthanized (I am not exactly sure of the history, as I am the Volunteer Coordinator and sometimes get the info after the fact in these situations.) This happened while she was on vacation, and upon her return, she found out. She has struggled with feeling like she let the dog down, didn't do enough, etc. I have been supporting her as best I can with conversations, offering a private place to express her emotions, and mostly being a friend. I do own a sublimation printer and a heat press, so I took her favorite photo of the dog and made her a memorial ornament. She cried when I gave it to her, and I cried with her. I expressed that I understood how deeply she felt the loss, how much she loved the dog, and that I supported her emotions. I think the best thing we can do is understand. I will continue to support my staff in any way I can.
You did a lovely thing and gave someone support where they needed it, but getting your organization to involve a professional grief support person or organization is important. You should continue to be you and be kindhearted like you are, it will make your work environment better for those you work with. Seek out grief support in your city or area and try to encourage your employer to utilize them. Animal rescue is difficult especially when we become attached.
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