Pet Loss

pet loss quote

The death of a beloved animal companion is difficult and often friends don’t know what to say or how to show their support. It is important to recognize that a pet is a beloved member of the family and when they die, it is a significant loss, often one that is not always recognized or respected by society. In many ways, losing an animal companion is comparable to the loss of a family member. How do you convey an appropriate and meaningful message of condolence? This page is dedicated to resources that may help comfort, support and validate a loved one who is grieving the loss of a pet.


Recommended Books

Healing the Pain of Pet Loss
Edited By Kimberley Smith

Reading this book is like attending a support group. The reader is truly validated by experiencing this collection of intimate and sometimes heart-wrenching stories. Each story was written by someone who has suffered the loss of a beloved pet and shares his or her own personal story of grief. It’s not a self-help book; nor does it offer advice. Rather, it is an honest and passionate book that validates the grief experienced when a pet dies — a true support for one who is grieving.


The Loss of a Pet: A Guide to Coping with the Grieving Process When  a Pet Dies
By Dr. Walter Sife

This award-winning book includes a significant new way of considering the meaning of afterlife for us and our pets. It discusses the topic from a twenty-first century scientific perspective that is very different from existing religious or metaphysical ones, offering a new comfort to skeptics and agnostics as well. Very complete book, covers all aspects of pet loss, the guilt, the sorrow.


Dogwood and Catnip: Living Tributes to Pets We Have Loved and Lost
By Marsha Olson

Dogwood & Catnip provides readers with guidance in designing and planting a garden in memory of an animal companion. This book validates the grieving process through touching personal stories and photographs of actual animal companion tribute gardens. To assist with planning and garden maintenance, Dogwood and Catnip also includes information on the symbolism of plants, common garden themes, garden accessories, remembrance rituals and the preparation, installation, and maintenance of a garden. 


Create a Memory Garden

Personalized Animal Companion Memorial Garden RockCarruth Studios

Celtic knots flank the sides of this paw print memorial garden stone providing a lasting tribute to a beloved animal companion. Below the paw print the rock says “Beloved Companion”. Your personalization follows with up to 9 characters in the first line and 9 characters in the second line. It ships from Ohio in a beautiful gift box, includes a handwritten message and arrives 3 to 4 weeks from the date of your order. Create a lovely gift and pair it with Dogwood and Catnip.


Visit our Words of Sympathy page for assistance in sending a heartfelt sympathy message.


Resources on the Internet

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB)

The APLB was founded by Dr. Wallace Sife after experiencing the death of his animal companion. It has evolved into a non-profit association providing a website, training and conferences.  For a small fee, you can become a member which allows access to newsletters, an “In Memoriam” section to honor your pet and the “Send a Card” feature. Your membership supports the APLB in its mission to provide bereavement support to grieving pet owners. You can access many of their website help and support features without being a member.

The APLB helps bereaved pet owners find appropriate counseling, personal support, and reading material. There are also chat rooms that are quite popular with rotating visiting experts who are prominent counselors and authors of pet bereavement books.  Also offered is individual E-mail assistance, seminars and training sessions, a highly acclaimed quarterly newsletter, a constantly updated listing of useful books on this subject, and occasional national conferences.

Create an Online Remembrance

Creating a lasting remembrance online is fast becoming a popular way to pay tribute to a lost loved one or pet companion.   An online memorial can bring comfort, preserve memories and provide a unique place to express your thoughts and feelings.   Not only does it pay tribute to a beloved pet, but also supports the pet owner through the grieving process. Below is one example. was started by pet owners who have loved and lost a pet of their own, This website offers a bereaved pet owner an opportunity to memorialize their pet online – free of charge. Visitors are offered enough space to write a lengthy tribute as well as add photos, graphics and even video clips. The memorial remains online and is maintained for three months. The three months and the standard storage space can be extended for a nominal fee.

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