The last decade has seen many advances in the pet and veterinary world; everything from pet insurance as part of benefit packets at work, to groundbreaking studies about how our furry companions have evolved over the years.
And now, there has been increased interest in bringing social workers to the veterinary field. Veterinary social workers are relatively new, and their role is multifaceted, but it could be a game changer. They can interact with pet owners and offer support in various ways, whether it’s helping someone make a difficult decision having to do with their pet, offer emotional or grief support, facilitate communication during end of care life for a furry friend, be present during a euthanization, or connect someone with a grief support group. They can also serve an important role for veterinarians as well, especially in regards to mental health and compassion fatigue. When veterinarians are limited by their back-to-back schedules, a social worker can spend extra time with a patient if needed.
In this day in age, most people consider their pets members of the family, and owners have higher expectations when it comes to the quality of care their four-legged child is receiving. We dedicate so much time making sure our pets are living healthy, happy lives that it only makes sense for a social worker to be involved. “The ability to have somebody else go in that room and help [owners] with the emotional pain allows me to step away and have time for other clients and patients while still providing a very high level of support for the client as they need it,” states a veterinary oncologist quoted in this article: (include link).
While Veterinary social work is still new, it’s possible to find someone if you’re in need of extra support. In New York, the Animal Medical Center has one on staff. Click here to read more about veterinary social work, and sending a big hug for anyone going through a hard time with a pet.