My name is Diana Lund. I founded Four Paws Coaching because I’m passionate about helping others successfully move through the grief process. I want to share with you the positive strategies I’ve developed.
On September 11, 2001, I lost my best friend, Miss Amanda Mousington (“Mindy”). On one of the most heartbreaking days in history, I suffered my own personal tragedy. I didn’t feel I could, or should, share my story with anyone because the significance of world events dwarfed my story. No one knew how broken I was.
On September 10th, I rushed Mindy to the vet. Mindy was having trouble breathing. I had no idea what was wrong. She was only 5 years old, extremely active and never had a back check-up with the vet. NEVER. I left Mindy with the vet to keep an eye on her and run tests.
Mindy’s vet called me the morning of September 11th. A heart specialist was visiting the clinic and had just completed a full exam. He determined that Mindy was near death from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy – a condition that caused the walls of her heart to thicken. Her condition was too advanced for successful treatment. They were sorry.
Strangely, the vet hesitated at that point. She went on to say that the heart specialist wanted to take Mindy to his university clinic in another state. He wanted to perform heart transplant surgery.
My horrible choice was to euthanize my best friend or subject her to a high risk, research oriented surgery that was certain to cause her extensive, long term pain, offered no guarantees for her future but promised learning benefits for the heart specialist.
I said no. I had missed the signs leading to her condition, but I wasn’t going to continue causing her pain. Heart replacement surgery was not in Mindy’s best interest. The vet thanked me, said she was relieved, and had hoped that I would say that.
I drove the few miles to the clinic and spent Mindy’s last moments with her on my lap as her huge green eyes closed forever.
I was emotionally frozen. I didn’t believe I could openly grieve for Mindy because of 9/11 and I was gripped with fear on many levels. How had I missed that my friend was dying? Would Mindy still be alive if I’d seen the subtle signs earlier? How could I ever ado another animal if I was so bad at taking care of the one I’d just lost? Was the world safe enough for me to care for another friend?
I worked hard to realize I had made mistakes, found the ability to overcome them, and got excited to share the coping strategies I’d developed with others. I wanted to share with people who felt as I had – alone, scared and looking for help – looking for a rock to cling to and move past their grief.
I created Four Paws Coaching because I am passionate about helping people struggling with their personal grief processing. This coaching program includes tools to help you navigate the grief process and develop skills to successfully integrate the benefits of Loving Forward into your daily life.
I have a B. A. in Psychology from Western Washington University, but realized that becoming a traditional therapist was not how I worked best. My own grief experiences had taught me that focusing on action, living with a positive and balanced daily outlook, and embracing all of life’s experiences allowed me to live my ideal life.
I am a member of the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement and The International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care.
Safe, confident and excited about Loving Forward, I was ready to search for a new companion animal. After months of searching for a new friend and family member, one that needed me as much as I needed them, I found Sasha. Sasha is living proof that Loving Forward works.
Sasha inspires me every day. Her ability to overcome the horrendous abuse she suffered is extraordinary. I share Sasha’s amazing personality and unique coping skills by providing a voice for an animal that has no voice. You can follow along with her journey on her blog page, Miss PishPosh Says, or on Twitter at @MissPishPosh, where she is a popular and supportive member of the animal pal (“Anipal”) community.