Cat eyes

What you didn’t know about losing a pet

This week, we had a chance to talk to Kathy Reiter, a grief counselor who has been helping folks with pet loss for over 40 years. She was the first pet loss counselor in northern Virginia, and continues to volunteer support groups for folks in the region.

Here are some lesser known truths about losing animal companions we learned from Kathy:

  1. Most companion animals avoid showing pain to their owners in fear of alarming or worrying them. Owners have to be vigilant for signs like their furry friend going into another room or seeming detached (low energy or emotion) when they are looked in the eyes.
  2. Loss of appetite or thirst is another tell-tale sign that a pet is approaching its end. The companion animal could also just be sick, so visiting a vet (or having a “mobile” vet visit you) is vital at this stage.
  3. Some pets will pass away naturally if given permission or asked to die from their owners. Sometimes affirmation from their human best friend is really all they are waiting for, like being told “I love you and I will miss you, but you should go now.”
  4. It is 100% normal to feel like a family member has passed away when a pet dies. Some people truly develop a deep connection with their pet and losing their pal feels as horrible as losing a soulmate. Know that each person grieves as uniquely as a fingerprint.

So let’s give each other room to be unique. Perhaps The Forever Spot fits the special relationship you had with your pet. Getting a shroud may help you to finally acknowledge their mortality.

We at Coeio would be honored to help however we can. Reach out to us at

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