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I would like to introduce the newest graduate of the Certified Pet Loss Grief Mentor program with an interview with Natasha.

Natasha started with the online Pet Loss Specialist program. She finished with a deep understanding of her own grief as well as how to help others. Then furthered her studies and became one of my apprentices and earned her advanced Certificate as a Pet Loss Grief Mentor.

Please meet Natasha who recently received her certification as a Pet Loss Grief Mentor.

Natasha is a natural for helping people. Her calm presence, insight, and personal experience is indeed special. Anyone who works with her will surely feel well taken care of.

Plus, she is a registered nurse with a psychiatric nursing certification.

My Interview with Natasha

Wendy: How did you get started with pet loss grief?

Natasha:  My journey began with the illness and eventual passing of my beloved Kerneels, an 18-year-old cat with a huge heart and loving soul. She was my soulmate and had been my companion through thick and thin.  Although she had multiple illnesses including severe arthritis, IBD, and pancreatitis, I had felt she still had a fair quality of life. Before considering euthanasia I wanted to see how she would do with various treatments.

How I Began Preparing

After about two years of full-time care and multiple treatments, I realized that she would soon reach a stage when her suffering outweighed her good days. This was a loss that I knew I would not be able to cope with alone. Imagining life without her was impossible. I knew I had to mentally prepare for that awful day.

Opening the Doors

That is when I found Wendy’s program. She provided so much compassion and understanding. Her genuine empathy and the way she could connect with other beings is something I admire. I completed Wendy’s Pet Loss Specialist certification to prepare for the inevitable. Kernell died about 6 months later.

After working with Wendy, I was better able to move through the grieving process. I leaned how to come to terms with what lay ahead. Kerneel’s passing was an awful time. But I honestly felt better prepared with Wendy’s guidance.

Giving Back

It was at that point I started thinking how good it would be if more people had this kind of compassion and understanding available to them when it came to saying goodbye to your pet.  I considered exploring pet loss grief support as a way to give back to others what I had learned from the program and Wendy. However, when she suggested I would make a great pet loss grief specialist – I was encouraged to pursue the field further.

Wendy: What services do you offer?

Natasha: I offer 45- minute telephone support sessions for anyone who may need someone to lean on and feel heard during this very difficult time of losing your precious pet.

Wendy: Why did you choose to participate in the Center for Pet Loss Grief’s Pet Loss Specialist certification:

Natasha: I wanted to know more about this relatively new field. As a registered nurse with a psychiatric nursing certification and having gone through pet loss grief myself I was inspired to learn more.  I knew that by training with Wendy and gaining the specific knowledge needed, I would be better equipped to help others experiencing Pet Loss Grief.

Wendy: Why did you choose to advance your studies to become a certified Pet Loss Grief Mentor?

Natasha: Whilst doing the Pet Loss Specialist certification, Wendy suggested that I consider doing this kind of work for a living.   At the time of starting the course, I had really only hoped to get a better understanding of pet loss grief for my own personal knowledge and growth.

I knew that I would not be strong enough to do this kind of work until I had processed and worked through the death of Kerneels. But I went ahead and completed the course. Hoping that in the future I would be able to revisit the possibility of helping others as Wendy had helped me.

Wendy: What are your future plans in this field?

Natasha: Having gone through anticipatory grief with Kerneels before her death. Then going though it again with my second cat Mickey, I realized that there is a lot of focus on grief experienced after the death of a pet.

Anticipatory grief, or the grief experienced leading up to the death of the pet is not often discussed as a component of pet loss. Yet many pet parents go through this awful time in the last few months or weeks of their pet’s life. I would like explore this area of pet loss grief more.

Wendy: Do you have any words-of-wisdom for people who may be experiencing pet loss?

Natasha: From personal experience, I know that this can be the loneliest time for a pet owner. When you feel that no one else can understand your pain or relate to the seemingly endless sadness you are going through for your pet.  For a lot of people, their loved ones are not sympathetic to the loss because “It is only a pet, not a human.”

Please be assured that there are many, many other people that feel the same loneliness and isolation in their pet loss grief. Know there IS support and compassion out there once you find the RIGHT people to support you on your journey.

Wendy: What do you love to do in your free time?

Natasha:   I spend whatever time I can trying to enrich the bond I have with my animals.  I have really learned the value of just taking time to BE with your beloved pets, spending time with them doing the little things they love or just being present near them if they are unable to be very active.

Wendy: How can people reach you?

Natasha: Please feel free to browse my website at

I hope you enjoyed the interview with Natasha. She is a very special and compassionate soul.

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Online Pet Loss Specialist

Become a Certified Pet Loss Specialist. Please click here to register for this online program.

If you have questions please contact Wendy Van de Poll, MS, CEOL by clicking here