Directory of Pet Loss - Virtual Grief Support Groups, Helplines, Chats & Online Communities
How to handle grief after a pet’s death—and why we all need to change our attitudes about it
“Losing a beloved pet is often an emotionally devastating experience.
Yet as a society, we do not recognize how painful pet loss can be and how much it can impair our emotional and physical health.
Symptoms of acute grief after the loss of a pet can last from one to two months, with symptoms of grief persisting up to a full year (on average).”
In this section you will find the following Pet Loss Grief Support Resources:
1. Directory of Virtual Pet Loss Support Groups
2. Directory of Pet Loss HelpLines / Hotlines / Phone Support
3. Directory of Pet Loss Grief Support Chats/Forums,
4. Directory of MeetUp Groups, Facebook Groups and other Online Communities
5. Directory of International Resources
- United Kingdom (UK)
If you have suggestions for other free resources to add to these directories, please email us the information to MyGriefAngels@gmail.com with Subject Line: Pet Loss – Thank You.
VIRTUAL PET LOSS SUPPORT GROUPS
“More than 80% of pet owners in America consider their pets to be members of their families.
If their pet dies, is lost or stolen, or must be placed in a new home, the end of that relationship can be one of the most difficult times of their lives.
During that time of transition, it is important for people to have a support system that understands the human-animal bond.”
As we proceed towards a Post-COVID19 re-opening, please remember to always check ahead of time with the groups below – as to whether their “Pet Loss Grief Support Groups” will continue to be virtually, on-site or both.
My Grief Angels, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is a Free Online Community For and By People Grieving
To register for the free peer-led Pet Loss Virtual Grief Support Group go to the link below:
For a list of all the free peer-led virtual grief support groups offered by the non-profit My Grief Angels, please go to the link below:
Beyond the Paw Print
Support Group: Transforming the Pet Loss Process
“Created with one central purpose: to offer support and validation for those grieving the anticipated or actual loss of a beloved animal companion.”
Birchbark Foundation https://www.birchbarkfoundation.org/griefsupport
“BirchBark Foundation’s Pet Loss and Grief Support program is a free support service available to all residents of the Central Coast Community. BirchBark is a 501(c)3 non-profit and is dependent on the generosity of our pet loving community to provide financial resources for our services.”
Humane Society – Blue Ridge – North Carolina https://www.blueridgehumane.org/community-services/pet-loss-support/
“The free program provides a safe and non-judgmental space for community members to come together to support one another through the loss and grief of their beloved pet(s).
Sessions are limited to 20 participants. Sign-up in advance is required. Registration is on a rolling basis each month and closes the Friday before the session or when the session is full, whichever occurs first. Sessions are held via Zoom”
Humane Society – San Diego – California
“The Pet Loss Support Group is open to everyone ages 10 and up and is appropriate for those who have recently lost a pet, are still mourning an old loss, are anticipating the death of a pet, or are preparing for euthanasia.”
Humane Society – Silicon Valley, California https://www.hssv.org/services/end-of-life-resources/#animallosssupport
“Anyone who has experienced a loss or anticipates such a loss is invited to attend the HSSV Companion Animal Loss Support Group. The group helps grieving pet owners heal the pain by working through their feelings of loss, anger, and depression. You may attend an unlimited number of meetings and are encouraged to return to help others work through their grief even after your own needs are met. This service is provided at no fee for our community, however, we welcome donations to help provide life saving services for our animals here at the shelter.”
Colorado State University
Argus Institute – Pet Loss Support Groups
“Pet Loss Support Group: Once per month, our Wellness Professional and our Pet Loss Grief Specialist host a 90-minute pet loss support group. These sessions are a time for pet owners who have experienced loss to meet as a group to share stories of their pets, thoughts on their feelings and loss, and find common ground to help others in the group.”
“Group Schedule: Grieving for a pet is a natural, normal, and personal process, and group support can be a helpful outlet. During each session…a licensed clinical social worker, will lead the group in discussions that will open up opportunities to reflect, share, listen, and heal at your own pace.”
Hoofbeats In Heaven
Horse – Grief Support Group
“Hoofbeats in Heaven is a horse loss support group created to provide the comfort you are seeking due to the death of your horse. We are horse people who have lost, or will soon lose, our cherished family member.”
Maryland – Talbot Humane Society
Pet Loss Grief Support Group https://www.talbothumane.org/services/pet-loss-assistance/
Michigan State University
“More than 80% of pet owners in America consider their pets to be members of their families. If their pet dies, is lost or stolen, or must be placed in a new home, the end of that relationship can be one of the most difficult times of their lives. During that time of transition, it is important for people to have a support system that understands the human-animal bond.
The Pet Loss Support Group, run by Veterinary Social Work Services at MSU’s Veterinary Medical Center, offers a safe place for individuals and families to express their feelings and talk about their experiences. There is no charge for this service. Open to anyone who has lost a pet—your pet did not have to be a patient at MSU’s Veterinary Medical Center for you to attend our group.”
University of Minnesota
“Companion Animal Love, Loss & Memories Group (CALLM)
The University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) offers a biweekly bereavement group to support those grieving the loss of a beloved animal.
Whether you are facing an imminent or recent death, the CALLM group will provide you with a supportive and confidential environment in which to share your story. CALLM sessions are facilitated by the staff of VMC Social Work Services on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus.”
Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota https://aercmn.com/for-pet-owners/resources/pet-loss-support/
“Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota offers a Pet Loss Support Group”
PennVet – University of Pennsylvania
Register for Virtual Grief Support Group:
University of Tennessee
Veterinary Social Work – Grief Support Group
“Sessions are free of charge and open to the community as well as to clients of the UT Veterinary Medical Center. They provide: A caring environment where people can share their varied experiences of loss and grieving with others who are having similar experiences; A place to remember and honor the life of the animal who has died; An opportunity to learn additional ways of coping with the loss of an animal…
To sign up for a group:
For more information, please call 865-755-8839.
Chicago Veterinary Medical Association
Wings – Virtual Pet Loss Grief Support Group
& Helpline: (630) 235-1600
The Anti-Cruelty Society
“The Anti-Cruelty Society offers a free group program, now virtual, called “Working Through Pet Loss.” The group meets virtually via the video app Zoom”
“Grief Support Group
Group is via zoom but it is limited to Tufts Cummings Veterinary School clients.”
“Helpline: Lifelines for Grieving Pet Owners – A phone call away, veterinary students help owners work through the heartache of losing a beloved animal companion. The student-run hotline (dial 508.839.7966) has fielded more than 2,000 calls since it launched 16 years ago, from clients of the veterinary school’s hospitals to grieving animal owners from around the country.”
Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
“The Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Virginia Tech offers an animal loss support group”
Pet Loss Helplines:
Pet Loss Support Hotline – Phone number: New Post COVID: 607-218-7457 And Old Pre-COVID Number: 607-253-3932
“The Pet Loss Support Hotline is available via Google Voice to facilitate support Monday through Friday from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. EST, Saturday and Sunday 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. EST. Google Voice will prompt you to enter your name before connecting, however to remain anonymous you can say “anonymous” or just enter your first name.”
Humane Society – Rancho Coastal, California https://rchumanesociety.org/pet-loss-support-program/
“One-On-One 20 minute phone sessions will be available with our grief counselors from 9AM-11AM.” PLEASE check directly on their site for available dates/times and contact information”
IAADP International Association of Assistance Dog Partners – Assistance Dogs Loss Committee
“IAADP’s Assistance Dog Loss Committee (ADLC) is here to help support you during your time of loss through our peer facilitated outreach. ADLC has a monthly call where participants can share about their loss, express their feelings, ask and answer questions, and discuss ideas for coping.”
University of Tennessee Veterinary Social Work Hotline:
Pet Loss Support: 865-755-8839
Pet Loss Support Hotline – 508-839-7966
6-9pm EST Mon-Fri- 24-hour Voicemail
“Lifelines for Grieving Pet Owners – A phone call away, veterinary students help owners work through the heartache of losing a beloved animal companion. The student-run hotline (dial 508.839.7966) has fielded more than 2,000 calls since it launched 16 years ago, from clients of the veterinary school’s hospitals to grieving animal owners from around the country.”
LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital
“The Best Friend Gone Project is a service offered by the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine to help those who are dealing with the loss of a pet. You may reach the Best Friend Gone counselors by calling (225) 578-9547 or by having your veterinarian request that a counselor call you.”
Chicago Veterinary Medical Association
Pet Loss Helpline and Support Group: 630-325-1600
Lap of Love
“Lap of Love is honored to offer our complimentary national Pet Loss Resource Line available to those who are anticipating or grieving the loss of a beloved animal companion. We have been part of the end of life care community for many years and we want to help provide you with the support and comfort you need.
(855) 352-LOVE (5683)
Resource Line Hours: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm EST Monday through Friday.Pet Loss Resource Line calls are answered as staff is available, so if you get voicemail, please be sure to leave your name, your number, and the best times to reach you. Your call will be returned as soon as possible, usually within two business days.”
PAL: People. Animals. Love.
“Grieving the loss of a beloved pet? Speak with one of our grief counselors. Text or leave a message at 202-966-2171. One of our professional counselors will contact you, usually within hours. It’s free.”
Pet Loss Chat or Forums:
Pet Loss Group Chat Available to App Users
Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (“APLB”)
“The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (“APLB”) is a nonprofit association of concerned volunteers who are experienced and knowledgeable in the tender subject of pet death. Our chatrooms are free and available to anyone bereaving for a beloved pet. Membership is not required for this. The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement is a compassionate nonprofit organization of trained volunteers, dedicated to helping people during this very special kind of bereavement.”
NEW Forums/Boards Per Type of Pet Loss
Grieving Our Dogs
Grieving Our Cats
Grieving Our Birds
Grieving Our Horses
Grieving Our Reptiles
Grieving Our Small Pets and Farm Animals
Grief Healing Online Discussion Groups – Pet Loss
Facebook Groups as suggested by My Grief Angels’ Online Community Members:
Association for Per Loss and Bereavement
AKC Pet Loss Support Group
Grieving My Pet, A Pet Loss Support Community
Pet Loss Support Group
The Rainbow Bridge Pet Loss and Grief Support
The Ralph Site
Largest Pet Loss Groups
“Meet with others in your local area who have suffered the Loss of a Pet. Discuss ways to cope and moving on.”
Writing Letters To Our Pets:
Letters to Pushkin
- What kinds of emotions are you feeling now?
- What is your most joyful memory of your deceased loved one/companion animal?
- What little quirk or habit do you miss most about him/her?
- What was one important lesson you learned from him/her that made you a better person?”
Ontario Pet Loss Support Group https://ontariopetloss.org/
For Schedule of Virtual Meetings:
Ottawa Pet Loss Virtual Group
Winnipeg Humane Society
“Pet Loss & Grief Support. If you are dealing with the loss of a pet, the WHS can help. Call our Pet Loss Support Line at 204-988-8804 if you would like someone to talk to about your loss.”
UNITED KINGDOM (UK)
Blue Cross For Pets
“If you are grieving for a pet, or facing loss, our free and confidential Pet Bereavement Support Service (PBSS) is here for you by phone, email or webchat.”
Paws to Listen grief support service
If you’re experiencing pet-related grief you can call our free and confidential phone line on 0800 024 94 94 to talk to one of our trained volunteer listeners.
The British Horse Society
“‘Friends at the End’ is a BHS initiative designed to make sure that no horse owner has to face the loss of their equine companion alone.
Losing an equine companion is an extremely difficult experience to go through due to them often being not only a pet, but also seen as a friend, family member or even like a child. Recent research by Advancing Equine Scientific Excellence (AESE) has found that only 9% of UK horses die of natural causes, meaning that owners frequently have to make the decision about when the time has come to end their companion’s life…
Contact BHS Welfare on 02476 840517 or firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll put you in touch with your nearest Friend.”
“List of Agencies who give support and information to People dealing with the loss of a pet