New Initiative Pushes For Employers To Offer ‘Compassionate Leave’ To People When Their Pets Die

Losing a pet can be incredibly challenging. They become a part of the family and when they pass away, it’s like losing a family member or loved one.

Despite the heavy grief many pet owners face after the death of a dog, cat, or other pet, they’re often expected to carry on as usual.

Many jobs allow for leave related to the loss of a loved one, but that leave rarely extends to pets. However, the grief we experience can be just as deep.

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To change this, Dogs Trust Ireland has started the Not Just a Dog initiative to push for employers in Ireland to have “compassionate leave” when their pet dies.

The animal charity claims that losing a pet is similar to losing a human family member and people should be allowed time off work to grieve and process their emotions.

Photo: Max Pixel

In an article about their campaign, Dogs Trust Ireland explained that they’re starting the initiative to “highlight the devastating effect a dog’s death can have on their owners and we are appealing to employers to consider offering compassionate leave to employees should their beloved pet pass away.”

According to research conducted by Dogs Trust Ireland, “over half of dog owners felt the grief they experienced after losing their dog was similar or worse to the loss of a family member, with a further 38% stating they were surprised by how deeply they were affected.”

Additionally, nearly 60% of those surveyed said it took them a year or more to come to terms with their dog’s passing.

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Dogs Trust Ireland reported that psychologist, neuroscientist and dog lover Dr. Sabina Brennan explained:

“When a dog passes on, no matter how prepared we are for it, how old the dog is or how long or how short a time they spent with you, the loss can be overwhelming. I think the most important aspect of coping with the loss is to allow yourself to grieve and accepting that what you’re feeling is normal. Surround yourself with people who understand and if you’re struggling, please seek professional advice.”

Photo: Max Pixel

Currently in Ireland, “compassionate leave” is not guaranteed and depends on the type of work or contract the employee and business have, as well as the nature of the tragedy. Unexpected illness, injury, or loss of a loved one could result in an employee getting compassionate leave, but that leave doesn’t typically extend to pets, as per Citizens Information.

With Dogs Trust Ireland pushing for change, only time will tell if more companies will get on board with having compassionate leave cover the loss of a pet.

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