Our question this week was:Hi Dr. Debra – My name is Sally – my daughter lost her cat about 2 months ago and she is...inconsolable. It sounds strange but she has even talked about suicide because she misses her cat molly so much. Do you have any advice.
Hi – thanks for your email. Sally – I'm very sorry to hear about your daughter. Grief is a funny thing – it can really affect some people in different ways. It is really hard to loose a beloved pet. I know that from personal experience. I've seen clients have similar reactions to your daughter.
When someone states they are considering suicide – I take that VERY seriously. It is a cry for help. I'd rather not tell you little things to do or say...I'd recommend that you get her professional help.
You can call a local counselor or contact some grief hotlines to find out your first step.
Below are some numbers as well as some websites that might be helpful. ASPCA Grief Counseling. 212-876-7700 ext. 4355; pager 800-946-4646, PIN 1407211
Iams Pet Loss Support Center. 888-332-7738 (Monday-Saturday 8am-8pm)
Pet Loss Support Hotline at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. 1-800- 565-1526.
Pet Loss and Human Bereavement Education Program at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. 1-614.292.1823
Pet Loss Support Hotline-Staffed by Tufts University veterinary. 508-839-7966 studentshttp://www.tufts.edu/vet/petloss
Iowa State University Pet-Loss Support Hotline. 888-478-7574 http://www.vetmed.iastate.edu/animals/petloss
Pet Loss Support Hotline, Cornell University. 607-253-3932 http://web.vet.cornell.edu/public/petloss
University of Florida Pet Loss Support Hotline. 352-392-4700 ext. 4080 (calls returned 7:00-9:00 pm) http://www.vetmed.ufl.edu/vmth/companions.htm
- www.aplb.org (Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement)
- www.alln.org (Pet Love & Loss Network)
An article that might be helpful to you is Coping with Pet Loss.
In addition, some books that might be helpful include:
Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet, Moira Anderson, Peregrine Press, Colorado 1991. Chapter 5: "The Final Decision."
When Your Pet Dies: How to Cope with Your Feelings, Jamie Quackenbush, Simon & Schuster, New York 1985, Chapter 3: "Your Reactions to Choosing Euthanasia."
Pet Loss: A Thoughtful Guide for Adults & Children, Herbert Neiburg and Arlene Fischer, Harper & Row, New York 1982.
Best of luck!
P.S. Do any of your pet lovers have any other suggestions for helping someone deal with pet loss?
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