Written by Ingrid Liberté
The death of a loved one is not something anyone wants to think about – including that of our beloved animals. Most of us can’t even face thinking about it and find it hard to be there when it’s time to say goodbye. But it’s a reality, and it’s important to ensure the process is as stress-free as possible. This is where an end-of-life doula comes in.
Animal death doulas are very new to South Africa – I’m one of the first people to have qualified in this, having completed my training with Ute Luppertz from the USA.
What is a doula?
A doula (pronounced doo-lah) is a trained person who supports you emotionally, physically, and mentally during major life transitions.
You’ve probably heard of birth doulas which help women give birth. If you think of a birth doula, they build relationship with the parents, help with information, Lamaze classes, etcetera, and sometimes help during birth and after the birth.
As an end-of-life doula (“death doula”) for animals, I do something similar by helping bridge the transition from life to death (or spiritual life, as I like to call it).
Easing the transition
Saying goodbye to a companion animal leaves a void in our lives, not made easier by any decisions one has to make beforehand. There are so many treatment options these days, as well as deciding when to make “the big decision” and what to do afterwards.
I’m there to help the pet parents decide on what is best for their pet through the info both I and the veterinarian provide. I act as a compassionate sounding board and support both the animal and their parents in this time of transition.
I’m also there emotionally, spiritually and physically for the animal. I do this through various techniques like Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for animals and dōTERRA Essential Oils, reflexology, and anything else I intuitively feel is needed.
My walk with the family often begins before the animal is near the end of their life, such as in cases when cancer or heart conditions are diagnosed. It also doesn’t end when the animal has passed on – I’m still there for the parents who need my help afterwards.
My own personal experience has come through working at a veterinary practice for a decade and helping the owners and animals at the time of death.
I also work at Australian Shepherd SA Rescue Organisation (ASSARA), where I’m a comfort, full of love and a bridge for each Australian Shepherd that passes from this life to the next.
I’m an animal communicator and offer animal relationship coaching and intuitive healing, canine massage, amongst others – I spend my life around animals.
For more information, please visit www.ingridliberte.com
Read about the Australian Shepherd SA Rescue Organisation in our article here: