Topeka animal shelter starts pet loss support group

The shelter plans to organize monthly pet loss support group meetings, with the first beginning in either December or January.
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 12:40 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Helping Hands Humane Society is starting a pet loss support group.

Man’s best friend is a loyal companion with unconditional love and when someone loses a pet, it feels like they have lost a member of their family.

“One of the things that we are very, very aware of is the experience of pet loss,” said Grace Clinton with Helping Hands. “We know that for the most part we are going to outlive all of our pets, just because we biologically live longer than them.”

The shelter said its goal is to be more than just a safe haven for homeless animals.

“We have really taken a concentrated and intentional effort to try and be more of a pet resource center, not just an animal shelter,” Clinton said.

Through adoptions and donations HHHS has identified a need for a pet loss support group.

“We have a lot of people that will come by and want to donate,” Clinton continued saying, “They will catch us in the lobby and tell us my pet just passed away and I have their bed, I have their collar, I have their food dishes, I want to give it to a pet that needs it and it is really, really touching that they are thinking about donating and giving back in the memory of their pet, but you can tell the devastation, you know that the hurt is there.”

The shelter plans to organize monthly meetings, with the first beginning in either December or January.

“What we really want to do is create an environment that is inclusive, that is very much non-judgemental, and is really more focused on the human sense of loss and the human sense of what that pet meant to them and the memories and connection they had with the pet,” Clinton added, “We want to try and focus on their experience of getting to love a pet, more so than focusing on the details of why they lost the pet.”

Helping Hands has also created a Facebook group called “HHHS Pet Loss Support Group” that anyone struggling with pet loss can join. Clinton said that is where meeting updates will be shared. Anyone wanting more information about the group can contact Grace Clinton by email at or by sending a direct message in the Facebook group.