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
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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 email@example.com.
- 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
- Lap of Love
- Assistance Dogs Loss Support
If you are seeking individual counseling to cope with grief after pet loss, below is a list of licensed providers with expertise in pet loss counseling and animal-related issues.
Long Island / Telehealth
- Janet Zimmerman, LCSW-R, Long Island Pet Loss Support Services | (631) 643-6205
- Mariann Acari Rubin, LCSW
New Jersey / New York
- Nancy Saxton-Lopez, LCSW | (201) 638-7404 | firstname.lastname@example.org
New Jersey / Massachusetts
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
NYC WELL 24/7 Crisis Line
Helping New Yorkers in Crisis
- (888) 692-9355 or text “WELL” to 65173
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
Free and 24/7
- Call 988 or visit 988lifeline.org
- Association for Pet Loss & Bereavement
- Pet Loss Help
- The Pet Loss Support Page
- What’s Your Grief
- Critters.com – Free online pet memorials
- PetLoss.com – Monday evenings Candle Lighting Ceremony
- Honoring the Bond: Support and Resources for Pet Owners from Ohio State University
- Dr. Katie Lawlor Psy.D On Instagram | @petlosspyschologist
- Animal Medical Center’s Pet Loss Support Program Spotify Playlist – Listen to a compilation of songs submitted by Pet Loss Support Program participants. If you would like to add a song, contact Judith Harbour, AMC’s social worker.
- Why We Need to Take Pet Loss Seriously
- Things I Wish I Had Known When My Dog Died
- When a Pet Dies, Helping Children Through the ‘Worst Day of Their Lives’
- My Beloved Dog Just Died. I Don’t Know How To Grieve Without Feeling Guilty.
- Finnegan, Dog Known for His Exemplary Nose, Dies at 14, by Dr. Alexandra Horowitz
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
- A 30-Day Guide for Healing from the Loss of Your Pet, by Gael J. Ross
- Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet, by Moira Anderson Allen M.Ed.
Books for Children
- When a Pet Dies, by Fred Rogers
- Dog Heaven, by Cynthia Rylant
- Cat Heaven, by Cynthia Rylant
- The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, by Judith Viorst
- Healing Your Grieving Heart for Kids, by Alan D. Wolfelt
- Because of Flowers and Dancers, by Sandra Brackenridge, LCSW
- The Dead Bird, by Margaret Wise Brown
- The Goodbye Book, by Todd Parr