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The death of a beloved pet family member or companion leaves a huge void in our lives.  It often surprises the human loved ones left behind just how deep this loss is, and how long the effects of grief linger.  Grief is a normal reaction and can bring up a range of emotions including shock, disbelief, sadness, anger, fear and guilt.  It can feel awkward to talk with others about the loss since friends, family and co-workers often don't understand why we can't move on sooner.  While it is good to take some time to mourn a loved one on your own, connecting to others who have been through a similar experience can help us understand what we are going through, and begin to heal.

The bereaved can experience acute physical and psychological symptoms, such as insomnia, anxiety, loss of motivation, cognitive difficulties, dehydration, and loss of appetite.  Pet loss can lead folks to blame medical professionals, other animal caregivers, or themselves; we can feel stuck in questioning what we may have done to cause this to happen, or why a higher power would allow this to happen.  In some it can lead us to existentially question our own existence, realize our own mortality, and re-evaluate our lives and our relationships.  Unresolved grief in some people can lead to clinical depression, increased anxiety, feelings of isolation, misuse of alcohol and substances, and even thoughts of self-harm in some cases.

Grief support can help lessen these symptoms, and help us feel less alone. Grieving is an individual process and there is no right or wrong way to grieve.  We miss our animal loved one dearly, but we also miss the role we played in their lives and all the activities we did with them; we miss our daily routine, and our rituals of caring for them and feeding them, and we feel we have lost our identity as a pet owner if that was our only pet.  The well-known stages of grief are shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression, reflection and loneliness.  The later stages of grief involve Resilience - when things take an upward turn, when we reconstruct and work through things, leading to acceptance and hope.  Through expressing our feelings in talking, writing, arts, in physical ways, in memorials, in rituals, and celebrations, we are able to make meaning of the life of our Beloved.  Whether we plant a tree, create a photo scrapbook, get a tattoo, or wear their ashes in jewelry, keeping their memory alive is comforting and healing.  

Kathy is committed to providing support to veterinarians, veterinary staff and others who care for animals who are chronically ill or suffering.  Veterinarians and vet staff experience death sometimes on a daily basis, can experience compassion fatigue, a range of emotions, and also have the stress of sorting out the many requests and expectations from pet owners.  There is a deep love of animals and a desire to help or fix, a goal which isn't always met.  There may be long hours, financial burdens, and sometimes a lack of social supports.  In some, this can culminate in depression or spiral into despair.  Wellness and self-care are so important in a medical profession, as in other helping professions.  Kathy uses a holistic, integrative approach with clients, with a goal of wellness in areas of your life that feel stuck or out of balance.


  • Grief support / bereavement for individuals/families/groups, adults & children mourning the death of a beloved animal / pet family member
  • Emotional support for end of life decisions, coping with chronic illness
  • Loss due to relocation, moves, separations, divorce, military deployment
  • Unexpected loss due to Pets Running Away, getting lost, accidents
  • How to help pets grieve loss/separation from human or pet companions
  • Supporting pets who are caregivers to humans, such emotional therapy animals, guide dogs, or animal assisted therapy dogs, equine-assisted therapy
  • Support for pet owners, veterinarians, vet. staff, pet therapy staff, equine therapy staff, Pet walking / pet care staff, pet shelter staff, pet shop staff
  • Whether you have dogs, cats, horses, or birds, reptiles or fish, or are concerned for wild animals in the environment.
  • Help with burial or cremation resources, memorial ideas,
  • Help connecting you with resources such as local support groups, online support, pet chaplains, veterinarians, hospice / palliative care, helpful websites, articles and books.

Kathy would be honored to be part of your Grief Journey.  Please feel free to call, text or email her for more information.  She is available by phone, email, in person, video chat, or home visits locally.  Ongoing support groups.


Certified Pet Loss Counselor
Member: Assoc. of Pet Loss & Bereavement
Member: Maine Animal Coalition
Phone: 207-899-6948

Kathy Sherry is a certified Pet Loss Bereavement Counselor through Association of Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB), and a Licensed Clinical Counselor (LCPCc) in Maine. She has been a passionate animal lover and pet caregiver for decades. Since 2009, she has completed extensive training in Grief and Loss, and has volunteered and worked with individuals and groups at local organizations, including the Center for Grieving Children, and Hospice of Southern Maine.  After finding that many did not know where to turn for help for pet loss, she founded Pet Loss Pathways, LLC, and is now offering pet loss support to grieving pet families and veterinary staff.