Seminars offer guidance and support to grieving pet owners

Rachel Musselmann

Pet owners are receiving support from the Ram community.

Fort Collins local Alvin Vaughan enjoying the beautiful day in front of bronze sculptures Hadley Stuart and Dr. Steve Withrow at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital on West Drake Road Tuesday afternoon. (photo credit: Topher Brancaccio)
Fort Collins local Alvin Vaughan enjoys the beautiful day in front of bronze sculptures Hadley Stuart and Dr. Steve Withrow at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. (photo credit: Topher Brancaccio)

The Argus Institute, affiliated with the Colorado State Veterinary Teaching Hospital, put on a free, three-part educational seminar in March and April for the owners of sick or aging animals.

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The seminars, held in the Flint Animal Cancer Center, offered counsel to owners with aging pets, pets facing a cancer diagnosis or recently deceased pets.

Karissa Bennett, Argus Institute clinical counselor, said she hoped the interactive presentations provided comfort and guidance to grieving animal lovers.

“These topics are definitely of interest to the community,” Bennett wrote in an email to the Collegian. “We discuss assessing quality of life, end of life planning and memorializing pets. It helps people.”

Guest speaker Dr. Rebecca Ruch-Gallie, a veterinarian for the community practice service at CSU, covered topics like identifying signs and symptoms of aging in pets and preparing for special-needs care and equipment.

“Some people don’t know the type of specialty care elderly animals sometimes require,” Ruch-Gallie wrote in an email to the Collegian.

Other speakers, such as Dr. James Custis, a CSU Animal Cancer Center Veterinarian, discussed adapting to changes after a serious or terminal diagnosis.

Bennett said the workshops were brought back after overwhelming success last fall.

“This year every workshop was completely full,” Bennett wrote. “We actually had to turn people away. We plan on continuing the seminars in the future.”

The Argus Institute provides resources to people facing difficult decisions regarding their pets’ health, including grief counseling, providing updates during high-risk procedures and facilitating conversations with medical personnel.

“Our mission is to strengthen veterinarian-client-patient communication and support relationships between people and their companion animals,” Bennett wrote.

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Collegian Reporter Rachel Musselmann can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @rmussselmann.