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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Local Pet Grief Support

Dec 28, 2011 01:45PM ● By Kathy Valentine

Adjusting to the loss of a pet can be difficult, with friends and family not always adequate in supporting this painful journey. Resources in the San Diego area include support groups where people can meet with others experiencing similar feelings.

“The therapeutic value of sharing the loss of a pet with another who’s been through the same experience is very healing,” states Mick Palermo, general manager of the San Diego Pet Memorial Park. This facility offers a “Life Celebration” class to its clients on a monthly basis, with an outside facilitator who invites them to share details about their pets and how the loss has affected them.

Participants are asked to come with photos of their pets to the San Diego Humane Society, where pet loss support groups are facilitated by a licensed clinical social worker and offered in both North County and San Diego.  There is no fee, but donations are accepted. Children 10 and over are allowed, and these sessions are also open to those facing the impending loss of a pet.  Reservations are suggested but not required; various sessions meet at night or on weekends.  More information, including helpful books and other resources, is included on their website.

Many pet parents choose to commemorate a pet’s life, whether by a photo album, special family tribute or charitable donation to an animal organization. All of these can have healing properties, while Palermo’s advice is central to this theme: “Reflect on the good times, not when they were sick or hurting.” In doing so, pet lovers can gently heal their bruised hearts, while cherishing the memories of their animal companions.

For more information on San Diego Memorial Park visit or call 858-909-0009.
For more information on the San Diego Humane Society visit or call 619-299-7012, x2311.