Pet Bereavement Counselors:
There are literally hundreds of people who are now counseling in pet bereavement, and it is not possible for the APLB to register them all. Some hesitate to be listed in any directory, others are first discovering the benefits of this wonderful service, and many more are still unknown to us. We welcome all new applicants to contact us directly by mail or online at firstname.lastname@example.org. This listing is arranged according to geographical location. We are pleased that every counselor registered here is a member of the APLB.
Castro Valley / Hayward
Rev. Nancy Schluntz, Interfaith Chaplain
The death of a companion animal can be devastating, and sometimes cause greater pain than the death of a human family member. Feeling guilt about the choice to euthanize a pet may add to the suffering. My own experience led me to change life direction to help others though the process of finding a “new normal” after the death of a beloved animal companion. I provide a safe environment and understanding support so that each person may find his/her unique path through grief to healing. Individual counseling is by phone and in person, and I offer a monthly pet loss support group.
As an ordained interfaith chaplain, trained to offer a compassionate presence at the bedside during the final stage of life, I subsequently facilitated grief support groups for children who had lost a parent, and completed certificates in Spiritual Psychology, Animal Chaplaincy, and APLB Pet Loss Bereavement Counseling.
Hermosa Beach / South Bay
Sandra R. Grossman, Ph.D.
I am a Certified pet loss and bereavement counselor, trained through the APLB. I hold a BA in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology. After losing my beloved 17-year-old cat, Maz (Mazel Tov), in 2007, I became acutely aware of the depth of grief that the loss of an animal can cause in one’s life. My own experiences in working through the grief process in a Pet Loss Support Group and understanding that it is possible to heal from such a significant loss inspired me to change career paths and enter the field of pet loss support. I now help others who are anticipating the loss or who have recently lost a beloved pet.
I know first-hand the indelible imprint our pets leave on our hearts and how devastating the loss of a beloved pet can be. The healing effect of sharing our experience with others who are on the same path provides comfort in a safe environment and an opportunity to begin to return to a normal and productive life. I offer both Group and Individual counseling for Pet Loss/Anticipatory Pet Loss, in person, or by telephone.
Anne Ross, ACSW, CMT
Journey Coaching & Counseling Services
18023 Sky Park Circle, Suite G
Losing a beloved pet leaves an aching void in your heart, your life and your home. Is the intensity of your grief overwhelming you? Are family and friends unable to understand? I am here to help. I will provide you with nonjudgmental support and a private space in which to share your pet’s story. You may choose from individual sessions or a support group which may include the creation of a small memento of your pet. I also offer equine assisted psychotherapy, in which you work through your grief on a ranch with a horse as your partner. No riding is involved.
I have a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work with a specialization in Aging and additional certification in Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy. I became a vet tech and equine massage therapist after a childhood spent surrounded by animals — from cats, dogs and horses to newts and woodpeckers. As a pet guardian, I have made end of life decisions for many senior animals with chronic illnesses. Currently, I have a rescued Flame Point Siamese, Yanni, who will soon be trained as a therapy cat. In the near future, if you wish, he can be present during sessions to help comfort you as you process your grief. If you are alone in your sorrow and have no one to talk to, please do not hesitate. Call me today.
Lisa Frankel, Ph.D., MFT
11850 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 201
Los Angeles, California 90025
Grief Counseling has been a focus in my private practice for almost 25 years. As an animal lover and a surviver of numerous pet losses, I have experienced how profound a connection we can have with our pets, and how wrenching their illness and death can be for us. Grief may be more difficult when complicated by guilt, regret, anger, or unfinished business. Many people get stuck in the grief process, are challenged by depression or anxiety, or may become isolated. Counseling can help people connect and communicate, develop effective life skills, and work through painful feelings, so they can heal and have full meaningful lives again.
I work with individuals, couples and groups in a supportive collaborative way, using both insight and cognitive behavioral therapy. My background in writing and art, and my yoga/meditation practice also influence my work. Reaching out takes courage. I welcome calls or e-mails regarding my practice and how I can help.
Los Angeles / San Gabriel
Sandra R. Grossman, Ph.D.
I am a Cetified Pet Loss and Bereavement Counselor trained through the APLB. I hold a BA in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology. After losing my beloved 17-year-old cat Maz (Mazel Tov) in 2007, I became acutely aware of the depth of grief that the loss of an animal can cause in one’s life. My own experiences in working through the grief process in a Pet Loss Support Group and understanding that it is possible to heal from such a significant loss inspired me to change career paths and enter the field of pet loss support. I now help others who are anticipating the loss or who have recently lost a beloved pet.
I know first-hand the indelible imprint our pets leave on our hearts and how devastating the loss of a beloved pet can be. The healing effect of sharing our experience with others who are on the same path provides comfort in a safe environment and an opportunity to begin to return to a normal and productive life. I offer both Group and Individual counseling for Pet Loss/Anticipatory Pet Loss, in person or by telephone.
Ellie Freedman, MFT
Certified Pet Loss and Bereavement Counselor
1151 Dove Street, Suite 201
Newport Beach, California
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist working with individuals, couples and groups. My Siberian Husky, Jake, was my most trusted and skilled co-therapist until he had to retire at the age of 13. Together, we saw many people through their losses of family, friends and companion animals. Losing Jake when he was 15 years old had a profound effect on me, and I found comfort and support through the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB) and their on-line, real-time chat rooms. I completed an internship and am now a volunteer Assistant Host. I also completed the APLB counselor training program, the only one of its kind, to become a Certified Pet Loss and Bereavement Counselor.
I know first-hand the depth of the human/animal bond and the grief we experience when that bond is broken. Losing one’s pet can be devastating, and it is important to have the support of others who can help normalize our feelings and, in a safe and accepting environment, guide us through the grieving process to a return to our productive lives. I offer both Group and Individual counseling for Pet Loss, Anticipatory Pet Loss and Seniors and Pet Loss.
Julie Tenenberg, MA, MFT
4289 Piedmont Avenue, Suite 205
Oakland, California 94611
I am a psychotherapist and a Receive Your Life coach, with 14 years of experience in grief, depression, anxiety and life transition work. My approach is interactive, involving both educational support about the grieving process in a safe environment for each person to find his/her own path through healing grief. I also provide counseling and support for those who are facing end of life decisions for a pet who is dying.
Through my own personal experience since childhood I have experienced the special relationship and bond with animals, and the losses of these very special beings. I work with individuals, couples and families, and do sessions in my office, as well as on the phone.
Bonnie Goodman, MA
220 California Avenue, Suite 120
Palo Alto, California 94306
Credits: Certificate of Counselor Training (APLB); Nationally Board Certified Thanatologist/Grief Counselor (CT); Certificate of Completion: In Grief and Loss, U.C. Berkeley Extension School.
I have over 20 years of counseling experience. Individual and Couples Grief Counseling is provided in a caring and accepting environment, where people can receive non-judgmental support through the natural stages of their bereavement process. I respect and honor each person’s unique style of grieving, and offer strategies for healing, which will be individually tailored to each pet parents situation and personal style.
Melissa Lopez, MSW/LCSW
107 S. Fair Oaks Avenue, Suite 312
Pasadena, California 91105
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker whose speciality is bereavement — including pet loss. Having lost a beloved pet, I recognized that people whose pets die are not given the support that others get, whose family member or partner has died. Yet, pets are our family members and pets often times are partners in our life journey. The loss of a pet can symbolize the loss of unconditional love and acceptance. The void left must be healed before getting another pet. This process allows for one to honor the deceased pet and his or her impact on one’s life.
Ryan Horvath, MFT
126 Church Street
San Francisco, California 90503
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist working with individuals and couples in San Francisco. I earned my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from New College of California. I specialize in working with those experiencing pet grief and loss and other pet relationships. Additionally, I do crisis work focusing on those with HIV/AIDS where loss and bereavement are a common area of focus.
Having an extensive background working with people and their pets in and out of the therapist’s office, I’m aware of the role pets play in our lives and understand and can relate to the devastation that occurs when one loses a pet. For additional information to explore if we can work together to help you cope in your time of need, please, call, email or refer to my website.
Ann L. Palik, MFT
3820 Del Amo Boulevard, Suite 208
Torrance, California 90503
Our pets give us so much: they listen to our secrets, entertain us, and give us unconditional love. When we lose such an important piece of our lives, it’s often hard to get support because others may not understand why we are so upset about losing “just an animal.” But it’s not whether our loved one was a person or an animal that determines our “right” to be upset. It’s the quality of the relationship and the level of our love. So in addition to sadness, anger, guilt, and perhaps pain from previous losses, we also may feel isolated and all alone with our pain.
If you have lost a special pet, you deserve support. There are issues unique to pet loss that do not exist with other types of losses. Facing the grief all alone can seem overwhelming. But the good news is that with the right support, you can navigate through the feelings and tasks of grieving and readjusting, and, in time, it does get better. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in grief counseling. I also co-lead a pet loss support group. I have spoken in the community on pet loss, and appeared as a pet loss specialist on the radio program “Talking Animals,” 88.9FM, KUCI, in Irvine.
Claire Chew, M.A. Grief Recovery Specialist
1129 Marco Place
Venice, California 90291
There is an unspoken bond that we share with our pets. The unconditional love, companionship, and joy they bring us is priceless. Equally hard is the heartache, loss and emptiness we feel when we lose our animal companion.
Having faced the death of her beloved companion Sophie, as well as immediate family members and other losses in life, Claire re-directed her career into one of coaching and guiding others through their grief and integrating loss with life long tools. With a MA in Spiritual Psychology, a certification in Grief Recovery, published author and speaker, Claire is a inspirational resource in one’s journey of integrating and healing from pet loss.