Social Work @ the VEC

Sarah Bernardi, MSW

Sarah Bernardi holds her Masters of Social Work Degree, with Distinction in Gerontology from the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto. Sarah is working as VEC’s first Social Worker on staff, and strives to connect her knowledge of the social work profession with the speciality services offered at VEC.  She is originally from Northern Ontario where she has grown up with a variety of animals, including two rescue dogs of her own.  Sarah is passionate in helping all diverse populations facing adversity, and is excited to join the team at the VEC. 

 

The Role of the Social Worker at the VEC

Animals provide us with unconditional love and companionship, therefore the bond that develops between us and our pets is truly a unique and special connection. Here at VEC we recognize the importance of this bond, and how stressful and emotionally taxing it can be when your pet is ill or injured. During these difficult and emotional times, we are here to support you, the VEC’s on-site veterinary social worker Sarah Bernardi offers a variety of support services including:

  • Offering emotional support throughout the treatment process and euthanasia
  • Assistance in assessing quality of life or end-of-life decision making regarding your pets
  • Facilitating communication between yourself and the appropriate veterinary staff around the treatment and outcomes of your pet’s health
  • Providing pet-loss counselling both in-person or by phone
  • Connecting you to community resources with regards to pet loss support, memorialization, grief counselling and other ongoing issues you may be experiencing

As a veterinary social worker, Sarah understands that the unique connections we hold with our pets mean that we will experience grief in our own way and in our own time frame. If you are feeling the pain and fear of losing of a pet, please know that you are not alone, there is someone here to listen.

 

Resources

Grief/Bereavement Resources

Below are online resources that offer information, tips, support and memory sharing platforms for those coping with the loss of a pet or end of life decision making:

Help Guide: Trusted Guide to Mental & Emotional Health

The Pet Loss Support Page

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB)

 

Pet Loss Support Groups

The following resources offer pet loss support groups in the Greater Toronto Area:

Metro Toronto Animal Loss Support Group: D. Elizabeth Mayhew (416)264-6125

Ontario Pet Loss: http://www.ontariopetloss.org/

Mississauga Pets: http://www.mississaugapets.com/petloss.html

They offer sessions in the following locations:
Mississauga area (905) 272-4040
Oakville area (905) 842-2252
Burlington area (905) 637-5233

 

Books

These websites offer book recommendations for those pet owners dealing with loss or considering end of life decisions:

Pet Loss Booklist

The Riedel & Cody Fund

Pragmatic Mom (Books for children)