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Gold Award Girl Scout, Ellie

Gold Award Girl Scout, Ellie

Gifts for the Grieving

Not many people believe that losing a pet can cause any emotional damage, but it can be just as devastating as losing their best friend. Ellie has experienced this firsthand and decided this would be the focus of her Gold Award project. Through her research, Ellie discovered that not many people do anything to help pet owners cope with the pain and grief they experience. Ellie also discovered that loss of pets has been treated by psychologists in the same way loss of family members have been treated due to the same impact the loss has. Loss can cause depression, withdrawal from society, tiredness, as well as much more serious conditions related to grief. Ellie says that “It does not matter what the loss is, loss is loss and is often treated in the same way, and that’s why my project addressed loss of pets and providing comfort items to area clinics to help with recovery after loss."

Ellie’s goal was to give families and their pet matching comfort items by providing area veterinary clinics with comfort kits they distributed to grieving clients. Ellie’s kits included a pamphlet of grief resources, ecologically friendly blankets to bury or wrap deceased pets in, a children’s book that focuses on pet loss and grief, for younger pet owners, and memorial keepsake ornaments for remembering their pets. Ellie says that “The vet clinics that I distributed the supplies to were extremely pleased with the boxes. They informed me that they would make use of the supplies” and that “The vet clinics have passed on what the owners said about the pet loss comfort items and the pamphlets saying it was very helpful in the grieving process.”

To sustain her project, Ellie enlisted the help of a younger Girl Scout troop and an area 4-H club. She created an instructional video on how to create the kits and comfort items. Ellie said that “it was difficult because of COVID, which restricted how much I could do. I had to get creative in teaching them over zoom as well as create videos on how to complete different steps in creating the kits.”

When asked what she learned through her Gold Award project Ellie said: “I am able to solve many problems and am able to figure out solutions to sudden and unexpected problems that arise. I can teach people effectively and am able to adapt to changes quickly and effectively.”