TEAM members at a vets in Runcorn have been recognised for their pet bereavement support.

Colleagues, including receptionists, veterinary nurses and vets at Laurels Veterinary Surgery on Victoria Road have undertaken special training to help clients as they go through the saddest part of owning a pet.

And now their efforts have been recognised as it has received platinum accreditation for its pet bereavement support, which is the highest possible award from Compassion Understood.

Euthanasia is one of the highest most performed procedures in practice where the majority of pets will end their life in this way, and it is also one of the hardest aspects of working in a vets practice.

The Compassion Understood course is based on insights from hundreds of pet owners and recognises the unique human-pet bond. Veterinary practices are awarded platinum, gold, silver and bronze awards, depending on how many team members are trained.

Laurels Vets is part of the Willows Veterinary Group which has also received platinum due to the high number of colleagues at its 23 small animal practices across Cheshire, Manchester, Staffordshire and the Wirral who have done or are completing the training.

Emma Dugdale, from Willows, said: “We want to support pet owners at a significant time in their life. Very often, we have been with them through their pet’s life and it’s important to us to provide the end-of-life care they deserve.

“End of life care can happen sooner for some patients due to medical emergencies and for others this can be after many years of a happy life. It is important for pet owners to know that they have support and that we will be there for them during such a difficult time.

“To achieve platinum shows the commitment of each practice team to help pet owners as they go through the hardest part of their pet-owning experience to say goodbye.”

Willows veterinary practices have each chosen how best to offer support, from creating quiet, calm bereavement rooms to placing an electric candle on their reception desk to let people know someone is saying goodbye to a much-loved companion.

Some practices offer to make paw print mementoes for owners, others have Memory Books where clients can write their pet’s name with a personal message, while some teams send personal condolence cards to clients, many of whom they have known for years.