Turning Grief into Understanding
Association guides people after the death of a pet
Wallace Sife has built a figurative lifeboat—one that may help anyone who’s coping with the death of a pet.
A retired psychologist in Brooklyn, N.Y., Sife found himself devastated in 1987 after the death of his dachshund, Edel Meister. His training as a mental health professional hadn’t prepared him for the grief, and his search for literature on the topic that was geared toward pet owners proved fruitless. So he wrote his own book: The Loss of a Pet: A Guide to Coping with the Grieving Process When a Pet Dies. In 1997 he went a step further, founding the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB), a nearly all-volunteer nonprofit that serves as a clearinghouse for pet bereavement information, while also offering online chat rooms and training for pet bereavement counselors.
In the following excerpted interview, Sife discusses the APLB’s founding and purpose with Animal Sheltering associate editor James Hettinger.