CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Many people consider their pets to be members of their families, and losing that pet can be devastating.

Losing a pet can trigger immense feelings of grief. According to Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio, author of the “Pet Loss Companion: Healing Advice from Family Therapists Who Lead Pet Loss Groups” we bond with pets in a similar way that we bond with little children and the pattern for our daily life is built around caring for them.

“Look at them, I mean they are so loving, and they want to be near us and they want to please us and they don’t give us any guff. It can be any kind of animal or pet that triggers these feelings of grief. And when they are gone it can really shake up your world,” Ken Dolan-Del Vechhio, Author of The Pet Loss Companion said.

“You kind of reflect on these moments, you look in the corners of the house and they aren’t there,” Faith Kelsey of Longmeadow.

Grief can take many shapes and look different for everyone. There are some things you can do to take care of yourself during the grieving process. Dolan Del-Vechhio suggests self-care such as getting enough sleep, exercising, and meditating. It’s also helpful to memorialize your pet in some way like painting a picture, or writing a poem or letter.

Dog owner Faith Kelsey did something special to honor her childhood pet, “we got a stuffed animal – we made her into a stuffed animal and we had her ashes put inside of it.”

Dolan-Del Vecchio reads a passage from his book, a promise to people who are grieving, people who will wonder if it will ever end. “One day, you will recall your lost pet and smile; your grief, which may still feel raw as you read these words will eventually lead you to that moment; your pain will grow ever smaller’ but the love you feel for your pet will be yours to keep.”

Dolan-Del Vecchio runs a Zoom group for people who are grieving, you can learn more at

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Alanna Flood is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Alanna on X @alannafloodnews and view her bio to see more of her work.