Gail Bishop is the Clinical Coordinator of the Argus Institute at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, one of the best in the nation. She is also the co-founder of CSU’s Pet Hospice program and has had the opportunity to work closely with the excellent students and doctors in this cutting-edge program.
Bishop is celebrating 15 years of service at the Vet Hospital. She moved to Colorado in 1978, and at the young age of 29, her passion to help people led her to the CSU Human Development and Family Studies program. She felt that this was a place where she could grow.
Celebrate! CSU Milestones
Colorado State University employees achieving a decade of service or more this year will be honored at the annual Celebrate! CSU Milestones event Tuesday, May 2, at 4 p.m. in the LSC Grand Ballroom.
Beyond her accomplishments at CSU, Bishop is also the co-founder of the Suicide Resource Center of Larimer County. She has found her work with the Argus Institute extremely rewarding. She is able to help families grieve the loss of their beloved pets along with helping students and staff in the hospital get through hard days. Students and staff often undergo a lot of stress at the vet hospital, and having Bishop to go to during these hard times is exceptionally helpful.
Passion for helping people
Bishop believes her calling in life is to comfort those in need. She has found her position at the vet teaching hospital to be the perfect fit with her interests.
“What interested me about this position was the beautiful combination of helping people grieving the loss of their pet, teaching and educating students and empowering those students to find their voice,” she said.
Bishop got started with the pet hospice in 2004. When she first began there were very few pet hospice programs. Because of the leading role CSU has played in advancing animal medicine, there are now thousands of pet hospice programs nationwide.
When the program was introduced, Bishop spent her time on the floor helping families through hardships with their pets. Bishop has now moved to a coordinator position, where she focuses more on the staff in the hospital. She describes her office as a safe place for staff to come when they are having a tough time.
“We call ourselves the heart of the hospital,” she said. “The most rewarding part of my job is helping the students that come to me for help and are about to quit the program, being able to watch them graduate is the most rewarding.”
Normalizing the loss of a pet
The pet hospice program also arranges several events a year for families to come together and memorialize their pets. Her goal with these events is to normalize the loss of a pet and allow pet owners to grieve as much as they need for their animals. Bishop describes these events as a great way for the community to realize they are not alone.
The hospital also provides a Path of Honor that allows families to purchase a brick in honor of their pet. People come from all over the country have participated.
Although Bishop has a difficult job, she keeps a positive attitude. She attributes this positivity to her staff and the people she gets to know through her network at the vet teaching hospital. “Veterinarians see death nearly 10 times more than regular doctors,” she said, which is why this field can be extraordinarily hard on people. Bishop loves that everyone in the college supports the hospice program and that it provides counselors for staff as well as clients to understand about losses and find ways to help with the grieving process.
Bishop says it feels great to be an alumna of CSU and is proud to be a CSU Ram, and she is excited about the future of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.