Resources For Coping With Pet Loss
By Rachele Baker, DVM – Our pets are members of our family. They love us unconditionally. They make us laugh. They comfort us when we are sad. They share our daily lives and they are always there for us. Unfortunately, our pets’ lives are relatively short compared to ours so at some point we will experience losing and grieving for a pet. The following poem, articles, books, and pet loss support hotlines may be able to help.
After my 15-year-old yellow labrador retriever Chelsea died, I took comfort in reading this poem written in 1932 by Mary Elizabeth Frye:
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
Click on each of the pictures below to read the wonderful articles by Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed. (more great articles may be found on her website: Pet Loss Support Page):
PET LOSS SUPPORT BOOKS
Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet
Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die
Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet
PET LOSS SUPPORT HOTLINES
ASPCA Pet Loss Hotline:
Pet parents can receive help from the ASPCA Pet Loss Support program with the following issues:
•Assistance with the decision to euthanize.
•Comfort and support at the time of euthanasia.
•Help with grieving.
•Advice on dealing with children, the elderly, or disabled individuals who are facing the death of a companion animal.
•Helping the surviving animals in the household to cope.
•Assistance in establishing a relationship with a new pet.
Pet Loss Support Hotline Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: http://www.vet.cornell.edu/Org/PetLoss/
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. EST
The hotline is staffed by volunteer veterinary students who have undergone extensive training with professional grief counselors. Volunteers regularly attend discussion meetings with faculty advisors.
Pet Loss Support Hotline Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine: http://www.tufts.edu/vet/petloss/
During the academic year: Monday – Thursday: 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. EST
During the summer: Hours vary, please call for more information.
Messages left during off-hours will be returned at no cost to the caller during the next normal hotline shift.
Their email address is checked sporadically. Please use this address for non-urgent matters. If you would like to speak to someone regarding pet loss, please contact them by phone and leave a message.
Pet Loss Support Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine: http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/PLHl/
(866) 266-8635 or (509) 335-5704
Phones are normally staffed during the semester:
Monday-Thursday: 7:00 -9:00 p.m. and Saturday: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. PST
Phone and/or email messages can be left 24 hours a day.
While school is not in session and during holidays, they have abbreviated hours and they check phone and email messages Monday-Thursday and Saturday once daily. All messages will be returned as soon as possible.
Pet loss support is provided by Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine students who have been trained in grief counseling by a licensed therapist.
Losing a beloved pet is one of the most difficult experiences to endure. I hope you find comfort and help from one or more of the resources in this post.
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