Thursday • October 21
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How to Cope With the Loss of Your Pet
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Losing a pet to death or disappearance can be a devastating experience for some pet owners. The intensity of grief and range of emotions felt can come as a surprise to those suffering the loss of their beloved companion and not always understood by friends and family. Susan's guest this week, Dr. Wallace Sife, is the author of the principle book on the subject of pet loss and bereavement and will offer guidance and understanding of the process and how to cope and deal with it, to anyone who has lost their pets, or will someday. And as pet owners, that means all of us. Don't miss this show.
Episode Segments:
Wild About Pets: Mourning the Loss of Your Pet
Dr. Sife tells Susan how he became involved with pet bereavement and how the death of a pet can affect some more than others. They then discuss getting over the guilt of having to euthanize a pet.
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Wild About Pets: Dealing with Emotions
Dr. Stife explains ways he helps people deal with depression and grief after the loss of a pet. He also explains why too many reminders of your pet can be a bad thing, and has more constructive ways to memorialize your pet. Plus what to say and not to say to your child when discussing the death of the family pet, and helping other pets understand the loss of their friend.
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Wild About Pets: Finding Help
Dr. Stife & Susan discuss some of the unique circumstances that arise when counseling a grieving pet owner, such as seniors who have lost their only companions, and owners whose pets simply disappeared. Dr. Stife also provides some resources to find a pet grief counselor.
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Links to Related Websites:
Order The Loss Of A Pet
The Loss of a Pet, Third Edition has new expanded information, is filled with practical suggestions, resources, and most importantly, compassion and understanding. This important book helps you cope and reassures you that you are not alone.

Look While You Listen!
Click here to view the photos Susan and her guest are discussing, and for other useful links.

Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
Wallace Sife
Dr. Wallace Sife has BA and MA degrees in English and Education from BrooklynCollege; a MA and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from New YorkUniversity, and another Ph.D. in Transcognitive Psychology from the Union Institute in Cincinnati. He has authored six books on widely varied subjects. In 1993 after going through the personal tragedy of losing his beloved dog, he wrote his popular The Loss of a Pet. It won the coveted Maxwell award of the Dog Writers of America, and was cited as the best book on pets, for that year. The Loss of a Pet, now in its third revised paperback edition, has always been the best-selling book on this subject. It is now starting to be used in veterinary medical and technical colleges, as a means to teach professional sensitivity concerning depression and dysfunction suffered during pet loss and bereavement. In 1997 at a book signing lecture for the second edition of The Loss of a Pet he enlisted some of those attending, and later founded the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB) a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization, dedicated to assisting at no charge anyone who is depressed and confused because of the death of a beloved pet. He is currently the Chairman of the Board. Under his leadership this organization is the acknowledged leading authority and means for help, in this newly emerging field. Dr. Sife hosts one of the APLB's four three-hour popular Chat Rooms on the Internet at And he supervises the other three. He recently trained special personnel to open a fifth online chatroom, for animal care professionals who are suffering from burnout and depression, because of all the euthanasia and other constant deaths they must deal with on the job. And he is now making preparations to open another chatroom, dealing exclusively with anticipatory bereavement for a pet and the depression associated with this. He also designed and implemented a unique internship program of instruction in his online chatrooms, providing counselors with free instruction, during supervised fieldwork, there. Here is where he trains all his chatroom hosts and assistants to actively deal with depression issues that arise from the loss of a beloved pet. This is a powerful practicum, providing these interning counselors with specialized training and experience that the average pet loss bereavement counselor could not get in ten years of private practice. Dr. Sife is the only person doing this, anywhere. He also created a unique ten-hour training seminar for those who want to be professional counselors in this field. Ten continuing education credits are certified by the NBCC, NASW and AAVSB for completion of this course He felt this was necessary to establish basic standards of professional excellence in this new and unregulated field. Dr. Sife is the pioneer in this area, and the only professional pet loss bereavement counselor training others in this specialized work. Dr. Sife has also developed a special program that is made available at no expense to anyone wanting to start and manage a pet loss support group. He has helped inaugurate over a dozen, in the past two years, with three in other countries. He designed and implemented the APLBs three international conferences, on pet loss and bereavement. He had been active for 22 years in the Dachshund Association of Long Island (DALI), and is involved in animal rights work, throughout the country. He writes and communicates extensively in all media on all aspects of man's loving bond and stewardship of animals, and has become the acknowledged leading authority in his field. Dr. Sife was the first to publish and establish a working modification for the stages of bereavement that are unique for a pet derived from the stages created by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross for human loss. This has come to be considered the standard for all pet bereavement counseling. He continues to publish regular articles and essays on pet loss. Other than in books, his regular APLB essays and newsletters are the only medium anywhere for propagating this kind of information and public education.

Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement Website