One of the best things about online communities is that it enables you to connect with individuals who are going through the same things as you. For example, if you are currently coping with a pet loss, you may be comforted knowing that you can tap into a pet loss forum, chat room, or hotline.
Popular online support groups may provide some solace to your grief. We’ve divided our list up into forums, chatrooms, and hotlines. Some organizations offer all three services.
Jump ahead to these sections:
Pet Loss Forums
Your friends and family may have offered you lots of support after the loss of your pet but maybe you are still feeling bereft. It’s important to realize that others sometimes do not make emotional connections with their animals, and they may not understand your deep grief.
Connect with others who are like-minded in a safe, online community. Most require that you create a username and password to participate, and many have rules you need to promise to comply with before posting. Forum participants can read and respond to posts from other people or they can start a brand-new topic.
Here are some pet loss forums to consider visiting.
You’ll have the opportunity to post about how you feel regarding the loss of a pet at Rainbow Bridge’s pet loss forum. You’ll be amazed at the outpouring of support you’ll receive from other users.
This website also allows you to create a pet memorial, send e-sympathy cards, read and post pet stories and poems, or learn about your feelings at the grief support center. You can also participate in a Monday Candle Ceremony by providing the website administrator with the name, breed, and other details about your pet.
This website is for anyone who is grieving any type of loss, with a “loss of a pet” subcategory. Share your feelings or tell your pet’s story in this pet loss forum.
The pet subcategory has an extensive blog about pet loss and animal issues. You may also be interested in the resource list that includes dozens of books about grief.
Chance’s Spot offers a wide array of resources for someone grieving the loss of a pet. Besides its online grief forum, the website administrators also provide in-person counseling, presentations, and educational programs for individuals, groups, teachers, and pet care professionals on request.
If you are currently struggling, you can receive email support from a Certified Pet Loss and Bereavement Counselor.
Chance’s Spot also has a small online store with a few resources and gifts.
Grieving.com offers a forum for anyone who is grieving, including those suffering from the loss of a pet. They also give people the opportunity to post journal entries regarding grief, but it doesn’t look like those entries are able to be categorized by the type of loss you experienced.
You can start a “circle” of like-minded people interested in the same subject. You can also post photos of your pet for others to enjoy.
Much like the other online forums, Pet Loss Message Board gives you the opportunity to share your grief with others. You can also share stories and photographs of your deceased pet.
Not everything on this website is about grief. There is also a safe place to post lighthearted content regarding pets and animals.
Online Grief Support also has a lot of resources for those who are grieving a loss. The website is not dedicated primarily to pet loss, but you can search the forum for animal-related conversations.
One thing that seems unique to this website is that it offers paid private grief counseling, which can be done over private chat, Skype, email, or phone.
This rather unique website offers grieving pet owners the opportunity to write and post a letter to their deceased animal. This grief exercise may give you some peace over the loss of your pet. Participants can also post a photograph of their pets.
Even if you don’t want to participate in the writing exercise, you may want to read some of the letters that other people post.
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Lastly, we wanted to share Cake's very own grief and loss discussion board. Losing a pet is never easy, and it's often helpful to share these feelings and memories with others who "get it."
Cake's grief and loss board is a safe, welcoming place to talk about death, mortality, and loss. Our team and expert panel of contributors are both ready to answer your questions, start new conversations, and be there for users.
Pet Loss Chat Rooms
Some of the previously mentioned websites also offer pet loss chat rooms. Here are some other resources for those needing to “talk” with someone rather than making a post and waiting for someone to comment.
Like pet loss forums, pet chat groups require that you have a username and password. Many of the chat groups are only available at certain hours of the day. When joining the chat group, you have to agree to particular terms and conditions. Some of these chat groups are overseen by an administrator who makes sure that those who are participating are following the rules.
9. The Association of Pet Loss and Bereavement
Check this organization’s website for hours — the organization sets aside two Thursdays per month for those who expect the loss of a pet.
This association has many other resources available. One interesting resource is a quality of life scale, which helps you determine whether or not it’s time to say goodbye to a beloved pet. You can also learn how to be a pet loss grief specialist so you can help others who are suffering.
Rainbows Bridge offers four different chat rooms related to the loss of a pet. Besides the general chat room over the grief of losing a pet, they also have a teen pet loss group, a pet with cancer chat group, and a pet health group.
The chats are moderated and only are in operation for specific hours of the day.
If you are looking for a chat room that operates 24 hours a day, you may consider visiting the one operated by Pet Loss. It isn’t clear if the chat room is moderated or not.
One benefit of visiting this website is that there is an option to click on a link if you need to talk with a volunteer immediately.
If you would like to join a video chat group about pet loss, Pet Cloud offers this unique feature every Sunday night. The site also provides email, telephone, and video conferencing counseling sessions.
Pet Loss Hotlines
You may also consider calling a pet loss hotline If you need more support than what you are getting from the forums or pet loss chat groups. Search online for the details regarding each organization’s procedures. Some hotlines do not answer the phone immediately. Others promise a call back within a day or two.
If you are considering harming yourself, call the national suicide hotline at 800-273-8255. Help is available.
13. Nikki Hospice for Pets Foundation Pet Loss Support Hotline
Call 707-557-8595. If no one answers, leave a clear call back number and you should receive a return call within 72 hours.
14. The Iams Company’s Pet Loss Support Center and Hotline
Iams’ pet loss support hotline number is 1-888-332-7738. It will be answered during typical business hours, Monday through Friday.
15. CARE Pet Loss Helpline
Call 217-244-CARE (2273) to reach someone at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. The phone is staffed in the afternoons on Tuesday and Thursday, but you can expect a call back within 24 hours if you leave a message.
16. Lap of Love
This pet loss hotline is in operation for most of the day. Call (855) 955-5683.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals pet grief hotline can be contacted from noon to midnight each day at (877) GRIEF-10.
18. Veterinary Medicine Schools Grief Support Hotlines
Several vet med schools across the country have grief support hotlines for those who recently lost a pet:
- Utah State University Pet Loss Support Hotline: 435-757-4540
- Colorado State University, Argus Institute Client Support Service: 970-297-1242
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Pet Loss Support Hotline: 607-253-3932
- Tufts University Pet Loss Support Hotline: 508-839-7966
- University of Tennessee Veterinary Social Work Helpline: 865-755-8839
- Veterinary Grief Counseling Program at Penn Vet’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital: 215-898-4556
- Iowa State University Pet Loss Support Hotline: 888-478-7574
You Are Not Alone in Your Grief
Even though you may feel that your friends and family members don’t understand how much you are grieving the loss of a pet, many other people in the world get it. While you may feel disappointed by the reaction of your inner circle of friends, you can expand your friend group by participating in an online community.
These pet forums, chat groups, and hotlines are full of individuals who are ready to listen, no matter what type of pet you lost or how long ago your pet died.