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Grief May Overwhelm You When a Pet Dies

Therapists can help pet owners mourn

How close do some people feel to their pets? The Times of London reports that some people feel closer to their animal friends than they do to their human partners.

That's why it should be no surprise that when a pet dies, the owner may grieve as much as if a close family member had passed away. Not everyone understands or sympathizes with such grief, however. Friends or co-workers may expect someone to get over a pet's death quickly, even though grieving can sometimes last for months.

While some mental health professionals are trained to help clients deal specifically with the loss of a pet, finding such counseling will probably require some searching. "The psychological community has been slow to respond to this particular need," says Lorri Greene, a psychologist and pet-loss therapist.

A report from KSL-TV in Salt Lake City explains how pet-loss therapists can help people get over the death of a beloved pet, or when a pet disappears without explanation. The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement in Brooklyn, N.Y., provides grief hotlines, a list of pet-loss counselors, and support groups.

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