Pet Loss Support
Dealing with the loss of a special companion is never easy. There is a normal grieving process that everyone must go through, although we all experience and deal with grief in different ways. People are often surprised at how intense the grief can be after the loss of a pet, and it’s often made worse by not having a support system that allows you to feel the depth of this loss.
We are very fortunate that there are many resources that you may find helpful in the San Diego Area. As pet lovers ourselves, we encourage you to utilize these amazing people and programs who can help you and your family through this challenging transition.
Pet Loss Therapists
San Diego County Pet Bereavement Program
2058 Oxford Ave. Cardiff, CA 92007
(760) 436-6798 Fax: (760) 436-6798
Contact: Lorri Greene, Ph.D.
The San Diego Pet Bereavement Program offers support and counseling for those pet owners who have lost or are anticipating the loss of a pet. Free telephone consultations and low cost counseling is available by a licensed psychologist.
Pet Loss Counseling, Center for Effective Living
9815 Carroll Canyon Rd., San Diego, CA 92131
Contact: Meg Kaufman, MFCC
Meg Kaufman is a marriage, family, and child counselor in private practice. Her specialties include bereavement counseling, especially for animal loss. She works with children, adolescents and adults.
Pet Loss Support & Grief Counseling
Melonie Gale MA, LMHC, NCC
Pet Loss Support Groups
San Diego Humane Society and SPCA
5500 Gaines Street, San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 299-7012 x 2311
One weekend morning and one weekday evening session per month; calendar is available on website or phone. The Pet Loss Support Group is open to those ages 10 and up.
The Hug Club at San Diego Pet Memorial Park
8995 Crestmar Point, San Diego 92121
Saturdays from 1:30-2:30
Pet Loss Support Hotlines
ASPCA Pet Loss Support Hotline (toll free)
San Diego Access & Crisis Hotline
Available 24 Hours
Saying Good-bye to the Pet You Love
Lorri Greene, PhD and Jacquelyn Landis, New Harbinger Publications, 2002. Also see San Diego County Pet Bereavement Program
Coping with the Loss of a Pet
Christina M. Lemieux, Wallace R. Clark, 1992
B. Mellonie & R. Ingpen, Bantam Books, 1983
Oh, Where Has My Pet Gone?
Sally Sibbett, B. Libby Press, 1991
Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement www.APLB.org
Free pet loss support chat groups, websites, memorials, articles
Delta Society – www.deltasociety.org
counselors, groups, websites, memorials, articles, and a comprehensive bereavement directory
Pet Loss Help – www.petlosshelp.org
memorials, articles, pet stories, reference links
Children and Grief
How do I talk to my child about death or the end of life stage?
Adults may assume that a child does not understand loss or believe that we should shelter children from death, be tempted to explain the death of a pet in vague ways or avoid the topic all together. Research shows this is not the best approach for children, often causing anxiety and confusion. Children need clarity.
The end of life stage or death of a beloved pet and how it is handled will remain with a child throughout his or her life. Children do experience grief differently than adults, but going through the process of loss and grieving with loving family can ease the process. Children often have a strong attachment or connection to a pet. These pets may be a special playmate and to understand the loss they need a parent’s guidance and support.
Children need to understand that it is ok to mourn and remember a pet. A child’s reaction is more natural, varied and curious. Involving the child in the rituals surrounding grief, memorializing the pet, and working through their sadness help children learn lifelong coping mechanisms.
Many of the resources listed in our Pet Loss Support Handout list websites and organizations that also work with children, should your child be struggling with the passing of a pet.