Pet loss: Issues and implications for the psychologist

  • Sharkin B
  • Knox D
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Abstract

The subject of pet loss has received little attention within the field of psychology, which is surprising given the millions of people who form strong attachments with their pets and experience the death of a pet at some point during their lifetime. The primary purpose of this article is to show why it is important for psychologists to understand how significant pets can be in the lives of their clients and to be sensitive to clients' grief in response to the death of a pet. We discuss special considerations related to the effect of pet loss on families, children, and the elderly. In addition, we examine how psychologists can play an important role in helping people cope with the emotional impact of pet loss through grief counseling, consultation with animal health care professionals, and outreach. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)

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Authors

  • Bruce S. Sharkin

  • Donna Knox

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