Pets share our lives as well as our hearts, and they are frequently a source of love and support that remains stable through all of life’s changes. We understand the emotions involved with losing a beloved pet. Our monthly support group can assist you through this difficult journey by providing a safe place where you can talk with others who are experiencing similar feelings of grief.

The Pet Loss Support Group is led by Joanne Wholey, MA, LPC.

Joanne has a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Saint Joseph and is licensed by the State of Connecticut as a Licensed Professional Counselor.  Joanne was inspired by one of her clients to seek out specialized training and certification in pet loss support through the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement.  There is a growing need to help people navigate this journey of grief with all of its peaks and valleys.  Joanne has loved and lost several furry family members over the years.  She often tells clients, “You never get over it…but you get through it with a little help from people who can validate, understand, and support your grief process”.

The group is available to those over 18 years and limited to 10 people. Sessions are held in the hospital’s conference room, the second Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm. Pre-registration is requested. There is no cost to attend, but donations are welcome and all financial contributions will be given to various nonprofit organizations with the common goal of improving animals’ lives.  If you are interested in coming to a meeting please call our office (860) 236-3273.

GRIEVING IS A PROCESS

The emotions that come with losing a pet are both individual and universal. You may experience one or more of the following:

  • Extreme sadness
  • Tearfulness
  • Feelings of aloneness
  • Guilt
  • Reliving or revisiting the death
  • Revisiting prior losses
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling as though your departed pet is present
  • Anger
  • Confusion

DON’T GRIEVE ALONE

Establishing a compassionate network can help us to not feel alone in our grieving. Here are some of the many ways grief can be processed to move toward healing:

  • Expressing your emotions
  • Dedicating time to animal organizations or shelters
  • Taking care of yourself (ie. massage, getting enough sleep)
  • Attending a Pet Loss Support Group
  • Online pet loss chat rooms

SIGNS YOU ARE HEALING

  • You think more about your pet’s life than you do about his/her death
  • Emotions are not as intense and you feel a sense of control over them
  • You do not try to avoid reminders of your pet
  • You will be able to talk about your pet without feeling intense sadness
  • Letting go of your sadness does not feel as though you are betraying your pet
  • You remember the good times you shared with your pet