Grief Support Possibilities

Resources to help cope with losing a pet

Helpful Online Resources

ASPCA National Pet Loss Helpline

Free nationwide consultation to bereaved animal owners on a 24-hour basis.  (If your call is answered with a recording, please speak clearly, leave your own name and telephone number, and your call will be returned as soon as possible.) 

The Iams Company’s Pet Loss Support Center & Hotline


A special toll-free number for grieving pet owners, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.

Recommended Books

Goodbye, Friend by Gary Kowlaski

Kowalski's book is full of sound, compassionate advice to get through the loss of a pet. Included are ideas for rituals and ceremonies, spiritual guidance readings for solace. Kowalski includes advice on how to take care of yourself after the death of a pet and the importance of honesty when talking with children about this event.

Saying Goodbye to the Pet You Love by Lorri A. Greene, Ph.D.
Written by a psychologist who is a leader in the field of pet bereavement, this practical but sympathetic guide validates the survivor’s often misunderstood feelings, explains the importance of the human-animal bond, and offers strategies for working through the grieving process. Topics include memorializing the pet, recognizing problematic thinking, finding support, dealing with guilt and explaining the pet’s death to a child. The special needs of the guardians of working animals are addressed, as are self-help resources for the elderly.

Grieving the Death of a Pet by Betty Carmack

Written by a nurse and professional pet-loss counselor, this book draws from her experience of counseling people who have lost a beloved pet, as well as the loss of her own furry friends. Carmack offers pet-loss support to counter “a world that reminds us repeatedly that grief for an animal doesn’t count as much as grief for a person.” The book is poignant and sometimes heartrending, filled with personal stories of love and loss.

Pet Loss: A Spiritual Guide by Julia Harris

This book helps readers to understand the many emotional reactions to the loss of a pet; assist children in coping with and recovering from their loss; and learn how different spiritual belief systems recognize and counsel pet loss. Practical topics include what happens at a pet cemetery burial, cremation or home burial; what legal arrangements are available; how to develop a ceremony to honor the pet; and how to cope with the trauma of a terminally ill or runaway pet.

Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates by Gary Kurz

This book can help you cope with the loss of a pet and tries to answer questions about pet afterlife.

When Only the Love Remains by Emily Margaret Stuparyk

This book is a collection of poignant poems.

Three Cats, Two Dogs: One Journey Through Multiple Pet Loss by David Congalton

The author talks about how he transformed his anguish over the loss of several pets into a commitment to abused and abandoned animals. This down-to-earth book offers solace and practical suggestions for coping with grief. Anyone who has an animal companion will find this story inspirational and hopeful.

For children and teenagers: Dog Heaven and Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant

These books will appeal to children from preschool to grade two. The simple, colorful illustrations take the child on a journey to Dog Heaven or Cat Heaven, places of warmth and happiness. In Dog Heaven, there are “fields and fields and fields,” and in Cat Heaven, there are thousands of toys and soft angel laps in which to cuddle up. God is depicted as a kindly older man who benevolently watches over his charges.

Tear Soup by Pat Schweibert

This book tells the story of an old woman named Grandy who is making “tear soup.” It’s not specifically about the death of a pet (the reader is not sure what loss Grandy has suffered) so the book is relevant for any grieving process. The full-color illustrations are wonderful. The book is recommended for ages four to eight, but it has been a comfort to people of all ages.

For Every Dog an Angel and For Every Cat an Angel by Christine Davis

These small short books, which tell the story of the Rainbow Bridge, are beautifully illustrated in whimsical watercolors. They are appropriate for a wide range of ages.