Grieving the loss of a dearly loved animal friend? Pet loss counselling can help

Losing an animal friend can feel as devastating as losing a human loved one. For many people their animal friend has been the most significant “other” in their lives and with the animal’s passing they experience a deep hurt and grief that often their human family and friends do not understand. They might say “oh, it’s just a pet, you will get over it” or advise that the best cure is to get another animal to replace the one lost. You on the other hand are left feeling sad, empty, isolated and experiencing unbearable emotional pain. Your animal companion brought unconditional love, comfort, tolerance, respect, joy and meaning to your life. The empty space left where once there was a rowdy bark and big lick, or a soft meow or the stroking of your leg by a furry tail, or the loud happy chirpy greeting when the cage is uncovered, is almost too painful to endure. Whatever animal companion you have lost, you are left with the realization that you a way of life has passed, as well as a dear friend.

Counselling with a therapist who understands your feelings of grief and loss can help. Often the death of a dearly loved pet can evoke questions about the significance of your relationship, the afterlife, and your pet’s soul. Just as when we lose a human loved one we often ask the question “why” of our spiritual deity – whatever belief system we follow. Irrespective of whether you are Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist I can assist you through the use of story and symbol work, to mourn the loss of your animal friend, support you through the sadness, and assist you to develop mechanisms and rituals of remembrance that will allow you to integrate the loss and grow spiritually and eventually be happy once again. There are no “shoulds, ought to, or musts”. As long as your grieving does not involve harming yourself or breaking any laws we can work through the process together. I have a large menagerie of animal friends on the family property on the sunshine coast. Pets that have died are all buried on the property. You can feel safe knowing that I understand your deep attachment to your deceased animal friend and companion and will support you through your grief journey with warmth, compassion and understanding..

If you would like to make an appointment to see me I operate out of two locations: Wednesday I am based at the Wickham Practice, Level 9, 135 Wickham Terrace, Brisbane other days I am based in my room on the Sunshine Coast, 3 Franks Lane, Mooloolah Valley. Telephone 0400 539 710 or email me at

Julie Wilson-Hirst
Psychotherapist/Child and Family Counsellor
Master Mental Health (Psychotherapy)
Grad Cert Expressive Therapies, Ad. Dip Buddhist