On a Saturday in June 2010, 130 people gathered quietly on the campus of The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, each grieving the loss of a companion animal. They shared experiences and listened as veterinary residents and staff discussed the importance of acknowledging and honoring the human-animal bond.
This was the second annual Companion Animal Remembrance Ceremony, part of The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center’s Honoring the Bond Program, a unique outreach service made possible in part through an endowment created in 2004 by the Schoedinger family, providers of funeral services in Central Ohio for more than 150 years.
“When my family began Schoedinger Pet Services, we witnessed the strength of the bond between people and their animals,” said Randy Schoedinger (MBA, 2001), CEO of Schoedinger & Co. “We regularly consoled and helped people heal while many around them didn’t understand the depth of the loss. Through the innovative Honoring the Bond program at Ohio State, people with pets—and the professionals who help them—are gaining a better understanding of that bond and how to help when a loss occurs.”
Program Coordinator Joelle Nielsen (MSW, 1998) first learned about Honoring the Bond during the terminal illness of her cat, Kino. Program founder Dr. Jennifer Brandt was a much-needed source of solace and information, and Joelle knew she wanted to be part of the program. Today, Joelle is an active member of Ohio State’s multi-disciplinary veterinary team, providing emotional support and information for people facing a crisis in the life of a beloved pet.
Honoring the Bond also provides veterinary students with specialized training in communication skills so critical to quality care. The program also serves as a field training/internship site for graduate social work students.
Joelle sees herself as an advocate for people. “A big part of it is educating owners—helping them know what to expect, to explore different approaches and outcomes. And to know that what they are feeling is normal and OK.”
To view the original story, click here, and flip to page 15. If you are viewing in PDF format, the story begins on page 17.
About the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State
Founded in 1885, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine is ranked fifth in the nation and includes more than 1,000 faculty, staff and students in the Departments of Veterinary Biosciences, Veterinary Clinical Sciences, and Veterinary Preventive Medicine. The Veterinary Medical Center is one of the largest specialty referral centers in the world, with more than 35,000 farm, equine, and companion animal patients each year. A nationally-recognized ambulatory practice and teaching unit in Marysville, Ohio provides farm animal experience to every veterinary student, and the Food Animal Health Research Program in Wooster, OH focuses on detection, control, and prevention of disease. Located on the only campus in the country with a comprehensive medical center offering seven health sciences colleges, we admit up to 162 veterinary students per class, and offer a new comprehensive graduate program in Veterinary and Comparative Medicine as well as a unique Master’s degree in Veterinary Public Health, in partnership with the College of Public Health. http://vet.osu.edu.