Pet Loss Support Resources
Not everyone in your life will understand what you are going through but getting support from people who do is one of the most important ways you can take care of yourself during this difficult time. The AMC Pet Loss Support Program, which is free and open to the public, is a place to find that community. You can find information about other groups and resources at the bottom of this page.
As you mourn, it’s important to take care of yourself. Make sure to eat wholesome food and to get enough rest. Be patient with yourself during this process; there is no timeline you must follow. Find ways to stay connected with the memory of your departed companion. If you feel that the sorrow is too much to bear, reach out to one of the hotlines below, some of which offer 24/7 support.
Supporting the Whole Family Through the Loss of an Animal Companion
Judith Harbour, in partnership with the Usdan Institute, has created guides to supporting children, spouses, and surviving animals after the loss of animal companion. We hope these resources can be of help as you navigate this difficult time.
Making Final Arrangements
Information for scheduling a viewing and arranging cremation or burial.
For AMC clients who have experienced a loss and need assistance making arrangement for their pet, please download AMC’s Final Arrangements brochure.
Memorials help to mark the importance of a loss. They help people adjust to life without their loved one and to emotionally relocate the loved one in their heart and memory. When thinking about how to memorialize an animal companion, consider adapting rituals from your own culture or religion and think about meaningful routines you and your animal shared. Memorial rituals are especially important for children, who need to understand and process loss in a concrete way.
Some ideas for animal memorials include:
- Create a monument in your home with items such as photos, candles, fresh flowers, and/or an urn
- Make a donation to an animal-related charity
- Plant a tree to honor your animal companion
- Hold a gathering with loved ones at home or at one of your animal’s favorite spots to share memories and honor the life of your animal
- Create memorial crafts such as a photo frame, keepsake box, or collage
If you need help with developing a memorial to honor your animal companion, please contact AMC’s Social Worker, Judith Harbour.
If you have any questions about the resources on this page, or if you have recommendations of other resources that have been helpful for you, please contact AMC’s Social Worker, Judith Harbour.
More Pet Loss Support Groups
Due to COVID-19, most support groups have moved to virtual platforms. Please contact the group for instructions prior to attending.
- Pet Loss Support Group facilitated by Susan Cohen, DSW | Meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 6:30-8:00 pm. For more information email Dr. Cohen at email@example.com.
- Animal Specialty Center | This group is meeting virtually on the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 7-8:30p. The group is free and open to the public. Please contact Elaine Wolff, LCSW to RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Red Bank Animal Hospital | (732) 747-3636 | Tinton Falls & Mt. Laurel, NJ
- St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare | (973) 377-7094 | Madison, NJ
- Oradell Animal Hospital | Meets virtually the 3rd Tuesday of each month, register using form on website
If you are seeking individual counseling, below is a list of licensed providers with expertise in pet loss counseling and animal-related issues. Due to COVID-19, most providers have moved to virtual or telehealth platforms.
- Janet Zimmerman, LCSW-R, Long Island Pet Loss Support Services | (631) 643-6205
Grief Counseling Hotlines
Cornell University Pet Loss Support Hotline
- (607) 218-7457
The Pet Loss Support Hotline is available via Google Voice to facilitate support Monday through Friday, 6pm – 9pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 12pm – 9pm. When prompted to say your name, you may say “anonymous” if you wish.
Tufts University Pet Loss Support Hotline
- (508) 839-7966
6:00 pm-9:00 pm, Monday through Friday
Phone messages can be left 24/7
Books for Adults
- The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss, by Russell Friedman, Coles James, and John W. James
- When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering, and Healing, by Alan D. Wolfelt
- My Pet Remembrance Journal, by Enid Traisman
- Going Home: Finding Peace when Pets Die, by Jon Katz