Top Veterinary School Pet Loss Hotlines

A boy and his dog.

Don’t feel embarrassed if you can’t seem to get over the death of a beloved pet. Pets mean many things to people, and it doesn’t matter your age — the loss of a pet engenders the same feelings of grief that any loss would generate. Fortunately, grief counseling and pet loss support hotlines are available, and

The value behind helping people through the loss of their pets enables these students to become the best veterinarians. No matter if you’ve lost a long-lived goldfish or a prize-winning horse, the grief is the same, and these groups are here to help you.

The following list of top pet loss hotlines are located in universities throughout the U.S. Remember that these hotlines are not for mental health…they are for pet loss and pet grieving only.

  1. College of Veterinary Medicine: This college is located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Their Companion Animal Related Emotions (C.A.R.E.) Pet Loss Helpline is a confidential service, and they maintain a toll-free number. The C.A.R.E. Helpline was developed to provide a supportive outlet for people experiencing the actual or anticipated loss of their cherished companion animal.
  2. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Hotline: Literature relating to pet loss and grief is maintained by the hotline and available for mailing to callers who request information. Articles about the human-animal bond and grief are provided for the education of student volunteers and, together with the experience from the hotline, help to prepare the students for the emotional side of veterinary practice.
  3. Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine: This group offers both a pet loss support hotline and a pet loss support group. The Pet Loss Support Group, run by Veterinary Social Work Services at MSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, offers a safe place for individuals and families to express their feelings and talk about their experiences. The hotline is offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and if you leave a message, they will return your call.
  4. Washington State University Pet Loss Support: The College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University offers pet loss information through a group of students who have been trained in grief counseling by a licensed therapist. Many of those volunteers have experienced the loss of a pet and are there to help you through this difficult time. By helping others through their loss they hope to become better, more compassionate veterinarians.
  5. Tufts University Pet Loss Support Hotline: Modeled after the pet loss hotline at the University of California, Davis (which has been eliminated because of budget concerns), the Tufts University Pet Loss Support hotline began as the initiative of former veterinary student Tammy Pierce V’97. Since its inception in January 1996, over 100 veterinary students have served on the hotline. Every staff member participates in extensive training sessions with a licensed psychologist, learning about the process of grieving and how people react to the loss of pets.
  6. University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center: University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center (UFVMC) recognizes, respects, and supports the human-animal bond. They hope that after reading the material in their website you will understand that it is natural to grieve the loss of a beloved animal friend and that you are not alone in your grief. Their hotline is available on weekdays.

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