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At MASH, we are all animal lovers and animal owners. We understand how difficult it is to lose or anticipate the loss of an animal you love deeply. Pets provide us with unconditional love and companionship and are often viewed as members of our family. When we lose our beloved pets, it can be especially difficult as they are so integrated into our daily routine (morning walks, medications, meal times, etc). At times, the loss of an animal can not be adequately validated by society, making the experience especially isolating.
Feeling supported after the loss of a loved one is imperative to moving through the grief process. At MASH, we greatly value the human-animal bond and have an on-staff veterinary social worker, a licensed mental health clinicians, who is available to help you navigate these feelings 7 days a week. Veterinary social work services are at no cost to MASH clients.
For some, speaking to others in the form of a support group provides a sense of validation. For this reason, MASH has created a pet loss support group, which occurs 3 times monthly over Zoom. If you are interested in participating please contact Rebecca Baker, LCSW at [email protected].
In the state of California, it is illegal to bury an animal on private property. If you are interested in burying your animal, the links below are for some local pet cemeteries.
MASH partners with Only Cremations for aftercare. Only cremation offers both cremation and aquamation and private (ashes returned with a clay paw print) or communal (no ashes returned; ashes distributed at sea). If you are having difficulty navigating this decision or would like to discuss alternative options, please reach out to the veterinary social work team at (323) 948-1400.
Here are some additional online resources to help you through the grieving process of losing a pet.
Dr. Kathleen Ayl, Pet Loss and Grief Associates.
Compassionate Pet Loss Support Groups are held every other Saturday from 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. The fee is $25 (a sliding scale is available).
For the location and to RSVP please call or text: (818) 458-8106 or (818) 458-8102
or write [email protected].
Sandra Grossman, Ph.D., PetLoss Partners.
Groups are held every other Tuesday from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. The fee is $20 and a sliding scale is available. Call to RSVP.
We are here to support you.
When a Pet Dies by Fred Rogers
The Rainbow Bridge: A Visit to Pet Paradise by Adrian Paeside
The Invisible Leash: A Story Celebrating Love After the Loss of A Pet by Patrice Karst
Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corinne Demas Charlotte’s Web by E.B White
I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm
My Pet Memory Book by S. Wallace
Healing a Child’s Pet Loss Grief: A Guide for Parents by Wendy Van de Poll
Here are several recommended reading materials that may be beneficial when processing the loss of a beloved pet.
The Pet Loss Companion by Ken Dolan-Del Vecchino and Nancy Saxton-Lopez
Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet by Moira Anderson Allen
Rainbows and Bridges: An Animal Companion Memorial Kit by Allen and Linda Anderson
When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering, and Healing by Alan D. Wolfelt PhD
Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet by Gary Kowalski
And I Love You Still… A Thoughtful Guide and Remembrance Journal for Healing the Loss of a Pet by Juilianna Corbin, Ph.D.
The Loss of a Pet: A Guide to Coping with the Grieving Process When a Pet Dies by Wallace Sife Ph.D.
Signs From Pets In The Afterlife: Identifying Messages From Pets in Heaven by Lyn Ragan
The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss by Russell Friedman