Support Group Guidelines

  • Each person’s grief is unique. While you may share some commonalities in your experiences, no two of you are exactly alike. Consequently, respect and accept both what you have in common with others and what is unique to each of you.
  • Grief is not a disease, and no “quick-fix” exists for what you are feeling. Don’t set a specific timetable for how long it should take you or others to heal.
  • There is a difference between actively listening to what another person is saying and expressing your own grief. Make every effort not to interrupt when someone else is speaking.
  • Thoughts, feelings and experiences shared in this group will stay in this group. Respect others’ right to confidentiality. Do not use names of fellow participants in discussions outside the group.
  • Allow each person equal time to express himself or herself so a few people don’t monopolize the group’s time.
  • Attend each group meeting and be on time.
  • Avoid “advice giving” unless it is specifically requested by a group member. If advice is not solicited, don’t give it.
  • If a group member poses a question, share ideas that helped you if you experienced a similar situation.
  • Recognize that thoughts and feelings are neither right nor wrong. Enter into the thoughts and feelings of other group members without trying to change them.
  • Create an atmosphere of willing, invited sharing. If you feel pressured to talk but don’t want to, say so. Your right to quiet contemplation will be respected by the group.

Support Group Ethics

Dignity & Worth: Each group member has dignity and worth as a human being and as a person who has suffered a loss of their pet. Even when members express divergent beliefs about death and dying, or have very different experiences with loss, we encourage mutual respect and tolerance within the group.

Confidentiality: What is shared in our support group is private and should not be divulged to anyone. The only exception to this principle is if a group member expresses intent to harm himself/herself or others.

Social Justice: Our grief support group exhibits non-discriminatory practices and allow equal access to the group. All members regardless of age, sex, race, origin, sexual preference, etc. must feel welcome. Further, we encourage non-discrimination based on religious and cultural beliefs so relevant to death and dying.

Mutual Responsibility: The work that occurs in our grief support group is a function of interdependence among group members. Each member is valued as an important contributor. We strive to foster an atmosphere where members believe they each have something to gain from listening to, and understanding the others.

Cultural Sensitivity: A variety of cultural values, beliefs, and practices may be represented in a our grief support group. This diversity is welcomed; we practice sensitivity and openness to the different cultures represented.

Empowerment: Group members have the potential to take charge of their own bereavement process and guide their own growth and healing. We model respect for each individual to chart his or her own unique path to a new life.

Self-Determination: Group members have the right to join or leave our grief support group whenever they choose, and their input on group logistics, format, and topics is encouraged.

Professional Competence: We take pride in having the required knowledge and skills to lead this grief support group. We also strive to keep up-to-date on current bereavement knowledge and group strategies.

Accident Waiver and Release of Liability Form

I HEREBY ASSUME ALL OF THE RISKS OF PARTICIPATING IN ANY/ALL ACTIVITIES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP, including by way of example and not limitation, any risks that may arise from negligence or carelessness on the part of the persons or entities being released, from dangerous or defective equipment or property owned, maintained, or controlled by them, or because of their possible liability without fault. I certify that I am physically fit, have sufficiently prepared for participation in this activity, and have not been advised to not participate by a qualified medical professional. I certify that there are no health-related reasons or problems which preclude my participation in this activity. I acknowledge that this Accident Waiver and Release of Liability Form will be used by the event holders, sponsors, and organizers of the activity in which I may participate, and that it will govern my actions and responsibilities at said activity. In consideration of permitting me to participate in this activity, I hereby take action for myself, my executors, administrators, heirs, next of kin, successors, and assigns as follows: (A) I WAIVE, RELEASE, AND DISCHARGE from any and all liability, including but not limited to, liability arising from the negligence or fault of the entities or persons released, for my death, disability, personal injury, property damage, property theft, or actions of any kind which may hereafter occur to me including my traveling to and from this activity, THE FOLLOWING ENTITIES OR PERSONS: Heart of Texas Pet Loss & Grief Support, PAWs Shelter of Central Texas, Lizzy's Animal Hospice, Sweetheart Pet Servies, Coleen Ellis and Two Hearts Pet Loss Center (Organizers) and/or their directors, officers, employees, volunteers, representatives, and agents, and the activity holders, sponsors, and volunteers; (B) INDEMNIFY, HOLD HARMLESS, AND PROMISE NOT TO SUE the entities or persons mentioned in this paragraph from any and all liabilities or claims made as a result of participation in this activity, whether caused by the negligence of release or otherwise. I acknowledge that Organizers and their directors, officers, volunteers, representatives, and agents are NOT responsible for the errors, omissions, acts, or failures to act of any party or entity conducting a specific activity on their behalf. I acknowledge that the risks include, but are not limited to, those caused by terrain, facilities, temperature, weather, condition of participants, equipment, vehicular traffic, lack of hydration, and actions of other people including, but not limited to, participants, volunteers, monitors, and/or producers of the activity. These risks are not only inherent to participants, but are also present for volunteers. I hereby consent to receive medical treatment which may be deemed advisable in the event of injury, accident, and/or illness during this activity. The Accident Waiver and Release of Liability Form shall be construed broadly to provide a release and waiver to the maximum extent permissible under applicable law in the State of Texas. I CERTIFY THAT I HAVE READ THIS DOCUMENT AND I FULLY UNDERSTAND ITS CONTENT. I AM AWARE THAT THIS IS A RELEASE OF LIABILITY AND A CONTRACT AND BY CHECKING "I AGREE" ON THE "SUPPORT GROUP WAIVER" FORM, I AGREE TO IT OF MY OWN FREE WILL.

I further acknowledge that I have read the aforementioned waivers, guidelines and ethics and I am entering into this agreement fully understanding the terms and conditions.

By submitting this form, I understand that I have electronically agreed to the aforesaid information in lieu of my actual signature. This contract will remain valid and in effect each time I attend any future support group sessions and related events.