Compassion & Commitment to Excellence
Compassion &
Commitment to

Pet Loss & Grieving

Saying goodbye to our pets is never easy, whether it’s through illness, injury or euthanasia.  They are truly members of our families who have given us unconditional love and will always hold a very special place in our hearts. Through the years we bond with them, and they grow to trust and depend on us to care for them. Though emotionally our equals, God or nature has blessed them with ignorance and they don’t have the intellectual capacity to contemplate their own mortality or any afterlife. But we do, and when they leave us, we must journey through the grieving process.

The traditional stages of grief include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  Even though they’re described as stages, they’re not meant to be experienced in any logical or orderly sequence, with defined beginnings or endings.  All five stages can be experienced over a period of hours, days, weeks or even months.  Even after you think you’ve moved on emotionally, some stages of grieving can resurface when triggered by a memory or an event.

Grief is a deeply personal experience, but you don’t have to go through it alone.  Here in New England, The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University has a PET LOSS HOTLINE available to the general public that you can call at  508-839-7966.   If you look around the internet, you’ll find there are many other resources that can help as well.  Here are a few links to get you started:

Hello, Dr. Murtha. Leslie and I wanted to tell you how much we appreciated the caring and professional way that you handled helping our buddy Buster go to his next life. We couldn’t have asked for a better way for this very difficult event to happen. Thank you, and thank you for the sympathy card, which really meant a lot to us.


You probably have seen this, but in case you haven’t, here’s something I found on the Internet that helped us to know that we had to be with Buster at the end…


Please take care of me when I grow old. When I no longer enjoy good health, please do not make heroic efforts to keep me going. I am not having fun. Just see to it that my trusting life is taken gently. On the difficult journey, on the ultimate difficult journey, go with me, please. Never say you can’t bear to watch. Don’t make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there. Because I love you so.


Thank you again.

— Bill & Leslie Hoop


Hear Leslie in her own words:


American Veterinary Medical Association

American Animal Hospital Association

Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement

Center For Grief & Healing

Pet Loss Grief Website

Pet Loss Website

UC-Davis Pet Loss Hotline

Cornell University Pet Loss Hotline

Michigan State University Pet Loss Hotline