4x6-2356There are as many ways to grieve as there are individuals in the world. When clients share their grief stories, we at the hospital get the benefit of their hindsight—what they did, how they felt—what they think may have been done differently. We learn from these people and use the knowledge to coach and encourage other clients who are progressing through their grief journey.

An organization the Ann Arbor Animal Hospital has teamed up with to provide training for our doctors and staff and to assist clients is the kite network. The kite network, co-founded by a veterinarian, Julie Stotlar, helps the Ann Arbor Animal Hospital provide an extra layer of assistance when our clients are in need.

The kite network is ready to help anyone who has suffered a loss whether a family member, a friend or a beloved pet. The kite network is there when someone wants to talk to another person who truly understands their grief. The kite network is a peer support organization and consists of counselors who are volunteers from the community and have traveled on their own personal grief journeys, and who have been trained to provide a supportive presence to clients.

Funds raised through the annual 5K Fun Run & Family Walk support the organization’s mission to offer free grief counseling services to area residents in need. This year’s event, held on May 18, 2013 at Hudson Mills Metro Park in Dexter, MI was attended by the hospital’s director, David Caddell, his wife, Arlene, and their daughter, Isabella. The event featured a 5K run, a 5K walk, and a one mile walk along with other activities for attendees. They made a number of new friends and enjoyed the event from beginning to end!4x6-2590

While the weather cooperated and the scenic walk through a designated route through Hudson Mills was WONDERFUL, the “piece” the Caddell’s most remembered was the attendees who participated and reflected on those no longer with us. The event was positive, uplifting and definitely in step with the kite network’s mission of helping people through their grief journey by honoring the memories of family, friends and pets.

David, reflecting on the special relationship the hospital develops with hospital clients and their pets, hopes more people will participate in next year’s event to increase support and raise awareness of this incredible resource available to help those suffering a loss through their grief journey.

For more information about the kite network and the hospital’s series on grief please use the following links:

The kite network:


The Ann Arbor Animal Hospital’s End of Life blog series:


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Ann Arbor Animal Hospital is a locally-owned animal hospital operating for over 90 years in Ann Arbor, MI.