Best of 2015: GoodTherapy.org’s Top 10 Websites for Pet Loss Support

top ten seal pet lossDespite being a fairly common occurrence, losing a close animal companion after developing a bond and sharing time together is not easy for most people. It can be even more difficult for children, especially for a child who has not known life without the beloved pet. Like grief stemming from other types of loss, the experience of losing a pet can evoke all kinds of emotions, including guilt and fear, in addition to sadness and anger.

Finding more information and learning about how to better cope with pet loss can help the grieving process immensely. The websites compiled below have been selected as excellent resources for wisdom and tips on talking to children about pet loss, preparing for an animal’s death, navigating the complicated decision of euthanasia, and memorializing a deceased pet. Many sites also offer chat rooms, forums, or message boards through which one may communicate with others who are undergoing the loss of an animal. Sharing the experience can be very therapeutic, and can open visitors up to new methods of coping or ways of commemorating a lost pet.

Professional counseling or psychotherapy services may help individuals identify emotions present in grief and map out ways to honor the loss while moving forward and taking steps to healing. If you are interested in searching for a therapist who can help you through grief, you can do so on the GoodTherapy.org therapist directory. Below, please see our list of 10 of the best online websites in 2015—excluding GoodTherapy.org—offering support, information, and further resources to individuals and families who have lost a pet or are preparing for pet loss. These sites were chosen based on recommendations from GoodTherapy.org readers, site content, quality, and presentation.

  • Pet Loss Grief Support: This message board is a moderated resource for those who have lost pets. Visitors to the site can read and make posts in a grief support forum, view online galleries of pets who have passed on and post their own artwork, connect with others in their area for events, and access The Underground Petbaby Railroad, a forum for people to arrange transportation for pets they have adopted. The parent of this site, PetLoss.com, also provides information on pet illness and grief counseling.
  • The Animal Health Foundation Blog: The Pet Loss and Bereavement category of this blog, which is run by the not-for-profit Animal Health Foundation, offers archives of posts discussing various aspects of the topic. Viewers can read informational articles from experts as well as stories about pets and access coping and grieving tips in addition to support resources.  This blog also offers a Quality of Life survey, which is meant to enable pet owners to be better able to make objective and informed decisions about treatment for an ill pet.
  • Pet Loss Hotline: This hotline is run by a group of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine students who have received training in grief counseling from a licensed therapist. Hotline staff can be reached by telephone or email year-round, though hours are shortened during university breaks. Site visitors can also find other pet loss resources; access information about the grieving process, bereavement support, and pet memorialization; read pet stories from other site visitors; and take part in the WSU Pet Memorial Program.
  • Pet Loss at Home: The founders of this site work to make home euthanasia services available for terminally ill pets nationwide. Visitors to the site can obtain information about the cost and process of home euthanasia, learn where these services are offered, and access lists of media resources and support groups for pet loss. The site also offers information to veterinary clinics and has a blog and forum for questions about pet loss support, euthanasia, and related topics.
  • Pet Loss Canada is a nonprofit bereavement support organization that works to provide help and support to those who have lost an animal companion. Veterinarians, volunteer counselors, and others who provide pet support can register to take courses and pursue education on pet loss support. Visitors to the site can also access resources such as a loss workbook, a blog, and news articles. In addition, the site features an “In Memoriam” wall where readers can post stories, poems, or pictures of their pet.
  • Pet Loss Help: After losing an animal, many find it helps to be reminded others have had similar experiences and gone through the grieving process after a beloved pet has died. Pet Loss Help features a memorial hall of fame with images and stories of all kinds of pets, including dogs, cats, horses, and more. If you find writing about your positive memories of your pet and reminiscing therapeutic, you can also submit your own stories and pictures to the blog.
  • Help with Pet Loss offers information and wisdom for not only people grieving the loss of an animal, but others who may be confused by the process in general. One article, titled I Don’t Get It, explains the importance of honoring another’s experience of loss and why it can be problematic to minimize someone’s grief. Another section of the site details the Dos and Don’ts of offering support and some tips for empathizing with someone who has lost a companion animal.
  • Chance’s Spot: Especially great for kids, Chance’s Spot has articles and activities for every stage of owning a pet—not just preparing for and coping with loss. The site reassures viewers that sadness, anger, and other emotions are natural parts of grieving, and encourages children to honor their feelings and take time to experience their loss. Other resources include articles for parents and teachers, tribute posts, and support for animal caregivers experiencing compassion fatigue.
  • The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB): This nonprofit organization hosts regular chat room discussions on pet loss and anticipatory bereavement, which are free and open to the public online. A section on euthanasia offers information about this difficult decision. APLB also shares wisdom about the impact of loss on other animal companions—an often-overlooked effect of losing a pet. If you are inspired to help others through the process of grieving, APLB teaches a course in becoming a pet loss counselor.
  • The Pet Loss Support Page: Moira Anderson Allen, MEd writes articles on this site about everything from helping children cope with pet loss, to euthanasia, to breaking the power of guilt. Allen brings an academic, yet empathic approach to educating visitors about various emotions that may be present during the grieving process. If you are a counselor, educator, or parent, or if someone you know is experiencing pet loss, you can also print the many free brochures provided on the Pet Loss Support Page to help others.

If you know of a website you would like us to add to this list, please recommend it here.

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The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Charlotte

    December 31st, 2015 at 10:55 AM

    Although I know that losing my dog is a part of the circle of life, even just the thought of losing her makes me so sad that I do not even want to have to consider it.

    I know that she has been such a good girl and she has had a wonderful life, but I struggle with not having her. She has always been the one happy to see me at home even if no one else was, and to not see that sweet face everyday will be terribly hard.

  • kristine

    December 31st, 2015 at 1:35 PM

    People who have never bonded with a pet like this have no idea the pain it can cause when you lose one of your fur babies

  • Jack

    January 2nd, 2016 at 5:20 PM

    The thing about any pet is that they love you unconditionally. Right or wrong, happy or sad, they are going to be there for you. So when you lose that in your life, it is so heartbreaking because this is the one thing that you could likely always count on. Sometimes I think that this is why it can be harder to lose a pet more than anything else because that love is always so unconditional.

  • Alan

    January 4th, 2016 at 8:50 AM

    I know that where I live there are also some groups that will get together from time to time to work on this particular kind of grief that losing a pet can bring. I think that it is good to work with others from time to time who know the deep pain that losing a pet can give you because those who have never experienced that would never understand that void that losing a pet can bring into your life. IT takes a lot longer to get over than what many would imagine.

  • bev

    January 5th, 2016 at 9:50 AM

    I will always remember my first dog. She was such a sweet girl, and no matter how many other pets I have ever had, she is the one that I think that I will always miss the most.

  • Norah

    January 9th, 2016 at 4:47 PM

    Thank you for including these. I lost my kitty several months ago and no I am not the crazy cat lady, but that cat lit up the world for me. I have considered getting another but I know that there will never be another like her. I am just glad that she is not suffering any more.

  • Deborah

    March 15th, 2016 at 9:14 PM

    My sweet Betty pasted away three weeks ago. I found Betty through the ASPCA when she was five and I was honored to be her mommy for eleven years. I feel so lost without her, I sleep with her favorite stuffed baby. I go on our walks and made a Betty play list. I talk to her everyday and kiss the Stitch cookie jar on the nose my husband and put her ashes in, I haven’t put her paw print in a frame I hold it everyday. I miss my beautiful baby she took a part of me with her.

  • SUNITA

    December 2nd, 2016 at 2:31 AM

    I have lost my Beautiful sweet Baby Sandra Golden retriever on 11.11.2016. i talk to her. kiss her. collect her hair/fur wherever found in house on clothes.. seating at lawn – taking walk where we use to do daily.. sleeping with her soft toy . her photo …
    cry mostly. still not ready to accept that she is not with me now. our 11 years wonderful journey… now life without her is not going to be same… i miss Sandra……..

  • Lori

    June 27th, 2016 at 8:02 AM

    One of the best products for pet loss – to gift someone you know that is experiencing the loss of their pet or to do yourself as a healing activity with the family is the MiY Pet Perennials Kit. It lets you create seed wafers where you can add a little of the pet’s cremation remains or not into the matrix when adding the perennial seeds. Very healing and you can start a memorial garden with them or the mark your favorite walking path. Losing pets isn’t easy and it gives you a chance to talk to your kids while you do the craft.

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