Companion Animal / Pet Loss

We have trained volunteers — animals lovers, all —  who know how to listen and understand the depth of grieve that can be evoked when a beloved furry friend dies.

Call 541-552-0620 for more information.

Grief Tips If You Lose Your Companion Animal


Companion Animal Loss is often as devastating as losing a beloved person in your life – sometimes even more because our animals give us unconditional love.

Help if you are grieving:

Help for a friend or loved one:

  1. Recognize that grieving happens on its own timeframe—no right or wrong way to grieve.
  2. Find safe places and safe ways to express your feelings.
  3. Expect that some people won’t understand your grief over your beloved animal.
  4. Difficult emotions are normal, such as guilt, anger, deep sadness.
  5. Give yourself permission to do less.
  6. You don’t need to do this alone.
  7. Honor your companion animal in whatever ways feel natural to you.
  8. Remember that your body is grieving too – get exercise, eat well, rest a lot.
  9. Allow yourself to enjoy something, even laughter, whenever those moments come.
  10. Remember that you did the best you could for your companion.
  1. Respect the human-animal bond.
  2. Be there — listen and keep listening.
  3. Offer practical, immediate help, especially in the first weeks after the death.
  4. Ask questions from the heart, not the head.
  5. Use the animal’s name, ask to hear stories.
  6. Keep the invitations coming.
  7. Be ready for ups and downs – this is a normal part of grieving.
  8. Don’t minimize your friend’s feelings; accept even the shocking feelings.
  9. Recognize that companion animal loss is often a disenfranchised loss – many people won’t understand the depth of grief, and the griever may feel embarrassed by the feelings.
  10. Be a friend, not an expert.

Companion Animal Loss For Adults


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Companion Animal Loss for Children


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Regional & National Resources


***   Any Pet Loss Hotline Associated with a Veterinary School will likely not be staffed during summer hours.   ***

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
NOTE:  This line is staffed primarily by people whose main concern is animal welfare. They may voice opinions about euthanasia.

DoveLewis Veterinary Hospital Pet Loss Support
Veterinary hospital in Portland with extensive pet loss information and resources. Topics include:  Grief SupportMemorialize a PetSympathy CardsPet Loss JournalMemorial TreeDoveLewis BricksMemorial Art Therapy WorkshopsPet Loss Support Blog, and other Pet Loss Resources
24-hour Pet Loss Message Line: 503-234-2061

Companion Animal Association of Arizona
Helpline plus lots of other links/resources. This is a non-profit organization.
This number does not take messages, but when it is staffed they are able to listen and give ideas and resources for further support.
Pet Grief Helpline: 602-995-5885                                                             

Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University
“The Tufts Pet Loss Support Hotline seeks to serve the community-at-large by providing both a resource for people grieving the loss of a pet, and an opportunity for our veterinary students to acquire the skills needed for pet loss and grief counseling.”
During the academic year:  Monday – Thursday: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST
During the summer:  Hours vary, please call for more information; 24 hour voicemail
Pet Loss Support Hotline: 508-839-7966

Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Pet Loss Support
Pet loss grief hotline and many other high quality resources from Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
1-866-266-8635 or 509-335-5704

Pet Loss Help
A wealth of information and resources, pet memorials, bereavement literature and links, pet loss blog, Q & A, etc.

Center for Loss & Life Transition
From their website:  “Led by grief counselor and educator Dr. Alan Wolfelt, we are an organization dedicated to helping people who are grieving and those who care for them.”
Pet Loss resources

Lightning Strike Pet Loss Support
This not-for-profit pet loss support site was created after the death of beloved best friend “Tribble,” a 19 pound Maine Coon cat.  It offers articles, links, a chat room, pet loss book list, forums, and other resources. It’s called “Lightning Strike” because it provides “lightning-fast” support “for pet lovers grieving over the death of a pet, a dying pet, sick pet, or a lost pet…no matter if they walk, crawl, fly, hop, or swim our great planet.”

Pet Bereavement Resources List
Online starting point for a wide variety of pet/companion animal loss resources.

The RALPH Site  (named after beloved kitty, Ralph) ~ Pet Loss Support
This not-for-profit British site has extensive emotionally supportive and practical information. Resources include information on euthanasia and aftercare options; grief emotions and management; ways to memorialize your furry friend, including an opportunity to create an online memorial; private online forums and ways to interact via Facebook with others grieving the loss of a beloved animal.

PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Online article on loss of a companion animal