Best Friend Gone Project

The Best Friend Gone Project is a service offered by LSU Vet Med to help those are dealing with the loss of a pet.

Grief is the emotional process that one experiences following a loss. It can be thought of as the process of letting go or saying goodbye. The emotions experienced during the grief process can be intense and seem overwhelming, and occasionally people may feel their emotions are "out of control." However, it is common for pet owners to feel:

  • Numb
  • Guilty
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Hopeless
  • Depressed
  • Anxious
  • Withdrawn
  • Fatigued

The nature and duration of the grief process is unique to everyone. With the loss of a beloved pet, grief may last from a few days to a few years. Many times, sleep or appetite disturbances accompany grief, too. Veterinarians and mental health professionals recognize and agree that there is a legitimate grief response to animal loss. Grief is normal.

Children who are grieving a pet's death may be unable or unwilling to verbalize their feelings. Bereaved adults may feel they lost a companion who was more constant and significant than any human in their daily live. 

Too often, however, grief resulting from a pet's death is unrecognized or unsanctioned by society, and sometimes even by those closest to us. People may encounter those who innocently hurt them with remarks such as "Just get another..." or "It was just a dog/cat/horse/bunny...". Owners may even be ridiculed about the amount of time or money spent on treatment and/or memorialization. Sympathy and support are often unavailable or not offered to bereaved pet owners yet understanding is helpful in making a healthy recovery. 

Recovery from grief can be made easier through knowledge of the process and sharing feelings with others who understand. The Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine has recognized this need and offers help. The Best Friend Gone Project offers assistance when a pet has died or when death is anticipated. Support is offered in the form of:

Telephone Consults
Private Counseling
Internet Resources
Reading Recommendations

Our counselors are licensed clinical social workers trained to deal with issues surrounding grief and loss of a beloved companion. You may reach the Best Friend Gone Project counselor, Kayla Baudoin, MSW, LCSW, by calling 225-578-9452, via email at kbaudoin@lsu.edu, or by having your veterinarian request a counselor call you.