Pet Loss


Pet Heaven

Pet Loss & Grief

The loss of a pet can be very emotionally painful and lead to intense feelings of sorrow. In cases where the pet was euthanized, the guardian may also experience strong feelings of guilt or even anger. I utilize cognitive-behavioral methods and EMDR, designed to help process the loss and bring a greater sense of peace to the bereaved. Oftentimes, the loss of a pet can be trivialized, and there are not as many well-defined mourning rituals as there are for when a human dies.

Pet Loss Research

Most of the more recent academic literature on pet loss introduces their findings by emphasizing the strength of the attachment humans frequently have with their pets, thus allowing the authors to explain why so many pet owners have strong emotional reactions to the loss, “…indeed the loss of a pet is comparable to that shown for human loss in terms of its psychological impact” (Field, Orsini, Gavish, & Packman, 2009, p. 352). Donohue (2005) wrote, “More recently, pets have been viewed as significant attachment figures to humans, in large part, because of the recognition in the scientific community that powerful emotional bonds can develop between people and their pets” (p.187). Field, Orsini, Gavishi, and Packman (2009) also connect the strength of the bond to the degree of grief, “…[the] strength of the past attachment to the pet was uniquely predictive of more severe grief” (p. 334), and Hunt and Yaniz (2006) have stated that having a strong attachment to one’s pet is also associated with anxiety and dissociation after the loss. This research shows that it can be very devastating for some people when they lose a companion animal. I am sensitive to the impact that pet loss can have on people and families, and I provide a respectful, comforting and therapeutic environment to help mourn the loss and gain more peace in your life.

Donohue, K. (2005). Pet loss: Implications for social work practice. Social Work, 50, 187-190.

Field, N., Orsini, L., Gavish, R., & Packman, W. (2009). Role of attachment in response to pet loss. Death Studies, 33, 334-355.

Hunt, M. & Yaniz, P. (2006). Development of the Pet Bereavement Questionnaire. Anthrozoos, 19, 308-323.