Resources for remotely grieving a pet.
October 18, 2018 9:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm 37 weeks pregnant and unable to attend pet grief sessions in-person right now (and likely for some time), but am looking for resources to help me process the death of my beloved 9-year-old rescue. I've heard that several vet schools offer counseling lines or pet grief lines via phone — but am unsure how to access those resources. Do you have advice or information on remote grief sessions or counseling for pet loss? Thank you.
posted by melodykramer to Pets & Animals (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If your recent tweet is any indication, there is a fantastic veterinary counseling service right down the road from you. Our fabulous social worker is about to leave for a new job, if she hasn't done so already, but I would definitely call.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:21 AM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

I am so sorry for your loss. I recently went through this with the loss of my dear cat. I worked with MN pets and was so impressed with their organization overall and their website. While they are based in Minnesota, the resources page lists things that could help/be accessed no matter where you are:

Sending you love during this challenging time.
posted by river99 at 11:10 AM on October 18, 2018 has a list of grief counseling resources for dealing with pet loss. While the site itself is devoted to cats with diabetes and it looks like based on your tag that you are mourning the loss of a dog, you may find something helpful there.
posted by Gino on the Meta at 12:32 PM on October 18, 2018

The San Francisco SPCA has a grief group that I attended after a traumatic pet loss. The leader of that group did offer telephone counseling but I find now that she has retired. Nevertheless, the list of pet loss support resources from the SFSPCA site might be helpful. I wish I could remember the site that had regular online meetings but given that almost 10 years have passed, the group might well have disbanded, but just to know that these exist. There are a number of discussion forums on line for pet loss support (here's one) -- don't discount their helpfulness. Sometimes interacting with someone who is currently where you are emotionally can be helpful (sometimes not).

I often have recommended this pet loss grief recovery book. It looks really stupid and cheap but I found it really helpful and I have given it to a few friends over the years. Also, the Grief Recovery Handbook is not just about losing human friends through death. It really approaches a more universal question and strongly believes in beginning the work of grief immediately. This is another book that I often recommend and that was really helpful for me.

With all of that said, I want to also tell you how sorry I am about your loss. I believe in keeping death as an "advisor" but I am completely gutted by the death of animals in a way that I rarely approach with humans. I think there are recognizable reasons for that, but knowing why doesn't make it any easier. And I also know that there are very few words that are helpful at all at this time. But at least know that strangers, including this stranger, feel for you and are sending you love and good thoughts.
posted by janey47 at 8:19 PM on October 18, 2018

I did the Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss when my baby cat died and I cannot even tell you how much it helped me. I know it isn't the same as in person counseling but it was exactly what I needed to start healing. so sorry for your loss. <3
posted by fairlynearlyready at 12:34 AM on October 20, 2018

Marking Rock Steady's answer as the best because I called that hotline and they have 6 free pet grief sessions for anyone who needs them. They were willing to work with us over the phone because of our situation, and the first session was incredibly helpful. Thank you all.
posted by melodykramer at 7:11 AM on October 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

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