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:
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Pet Loss Support Hotline:
Available limited hours. Please click on the link above for hours.
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.
Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Pet Loss Support Hotline:
During the academic year:
Monday-Thursday: 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Eastern Time
During the summer:
Hours vary – please call for more information.
Messages left during off hours will be returned during the next normal hotline shift.
Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Pet Loss Support:
(866) 266-8635 or (509) 335-5704
Phones are normally staffed during the semester:
Monday-Thursday: 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
and Saturday: 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Pacific Time
Phone 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 messages once a day on Monday-Thursday and Saturday.
WSU Pet Loss Hotline volunteers are a group of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine students who have received limited training in grief counseling by licensed therapists.
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.