Grief over pet lossPeople describe grief in many ways. Some say it’s an ocean wave that washes over you and then retreats. Others say it’s a ladder with many rungs that you must climb. However you look at grief, it’s a human process that is made easier when you have someone to talk to.

Help is available

When we lose a pet, we lose a loving relationship and a beloved animal companion; that loss can be as difficult as losing any other human family member, and we appreciate and understand that your pet is a valued family member. It’s normal and healthy to grieve the loss of a loved one and we should never minimize or suppress our feelings. And, everyone grieves a little bit differently and in their own time, so it is important to remember to respect each person’s expression of grief.

With these ideas in mind, SAGE Centers in Campbell and Redwood City host free, monthly grief and pet loss support groups for clients whose pets have died, or when death is looming. The groups are led by Aileen Snodgrass, a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and Certified Pet Loss and Bereavement counselor. These support groups fill a gap in the community, as there is a shortage of places where people can find support and talk exclusively about pet loss, Aileen says.

What we talk about

SAGE Centers’ grief and pet loss support groups help people understand the grieving process and how to cope with loss, Aileen says. Attendees have a common experience and learn a great deal from each other, but also appreciate that the group is led by a formally trained family therapist.

These sessions are unique because they address medical and emotional needs. Aileen co-facilitates the Campbell meeting with Aysha Soszynski, a SAGE registered veterinary technician (RVT). She co-facilitates the Redwood City meeting with Lauren Gray, a former RVT at SAGE. Having an RVT to speak to attendees about the medical side of what their pet has experienced provides valuable perspective and context. Our group facilitators understand a caregiver’s experience and journey with grief and pet loss.

SAGE Centers collaborate with the Peninsula Humane Society in Burlingame and the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, which each host their own grief support group, to provide additional opportunities for camaraderie and support.

“Anyone who attends these local Humane Society support groups, and wants additional support, is welcome to attend our group,” Aileen says.

Where we meet

Our SAGE Center’s grief support groups meet each month and are open to anyone who has experienced the loss of a pet and/or is caring for a pet who is receiving any type of on-going medical treatment. Please contact Aileen Snodgrass at (650) 931-8535 for more information or to RSVP to attend our group.

SAGE Centers Campbell

2nd Wednesday of each month

7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Redwood City

3rd Wednesday

7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.