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By Sandra Grossman, Ph.D. & Ellie Freedman, MFT
Published: August 07, 2012

Understanding Pet Loss - You Are Not Alone!

Sandra Grossman, Ph.D. & Ellie Freedman, MFT - Petloss Partners -

When we bring a pet into our home and our lives they become a cherished member of our family. While intellectually we may understand that their lives will most likely be shorter than ours, our hearts intertwine with theirs and we spend our days caring for and loving them. The relationship we have with our pets is often like no other because of the unconditional love we share with them. Most of us find it very difficult to think of our pets' eventual death. However, there comes a time when we realize our time with them is limited, whether because of old age or illness. It's at this time that we very often have to make that most unselfish decision to let them go and be free of their bodies.

We know from personal experience that the death of a beloved pet can be more painful than any other loss we may endure. Our pets play many roles in our lives. They are our friends, companions, teachers, children and soul-mates. It is completely normal and understandable to grieve deeply for them. A problem that those grieving the loss of their beloved pets often experience is that others often don't understand the depth of their grief. It is often because of their own discomfort with death and grief that they will often say things that can be extremely hurtful to us, like "You can always get another one." or "It's time you get over this." Statements like these can make us feel shame for how we feel, very misunderstood and alone.

It's important to know you are not alone in your grief. There are others who have gone through the pain of pet loss, and they are there to share their support and understanding. There is much healing that occurs when these feelings of grief are shared with others who understand. Don't be afraid to reach out for support in your time of sorrow.

VCA Coast Animal Hospital is keenly aware of how devastating the loss of a beloved pet can be and and is committed to providing you with the support you may need to help you through this difficult time. Sandra Grossman, Ph.D. of PetLoss Partners offers both individual and group counseling at our facility. Her groups are held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. Sandra also offers both individual and group counseling in Glendale. Sandra can be reached at 818-421-1516. Ellie Freedman, MFT, of PetLoss Partners, offers the same services in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. She may be reached at 949-315-5616.

As always, VCA Coast is here to serve you and your pets with the highest quality of care.