How to Deal with End of Life Decision-Making and Grief Following Loss

with Veterinarian and Social Worker Dr. Katherine Goldberg

Welcome back to Your Dog Wants You To Know This!   


Do you worry about how to handle the emotional challenges that come with losing a pet? 


Today we have Dr. Katherine Goldberg back for a second episode, and you are in good hands when it comes to discussing these issues. 


We’re covering some heavy topics today, but ones that I think are really important to talk through. Things like end of life decision making, preparing for the loss of a pet, how to talk to a child about it, how to support another dog in the household when a pet is dying, and how to support yourself after the loss of a pet.


I know it’s not the most fun to talk about, but I do feel that the more you can prepare for it properly, the better you can handle the difficult experience when it comes. 


Dr. Katherine Goldberg, DVM, LMSW, is a veterinarian and social worker. She pursued her LMSW at Syracuse University after recognizing the significant human needs that arise in medical environments – for both family members of seriously ill patients, and medical team members themselves. 


A 2004 graduate of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, she has been instrumental in developing the field of palliative medicine in veterinary environments. 


She is grateful to have found a “home” in the social work profession, where social justice and the dignity and worth of each individual are core values.


In Today’s Episode We Discuss: 


  • The importance of making a difficult situation the best that it can be
  • End of life decision making
  • How to think through what’s most important to you at the end of your dog’s life 
  • Preparing for the loss of a pet
  • How to talk to a child about losing a pet
  • Supporting another dog in the household when a pet is dying 
  • Allowing yourself to grieve and feel your feelings 
  • The importance of supporting yourself after the loss of a pet
  • How to decide if you’re ready for a new pet 


Dr. Goldberg has a lot of helpful information to share, so I hope that you got a lot out of this episode.


If you didn’t catch last week’s episode with Dr. Goldberg, go back and check that one out too!

Resources Mentioned:

Dr. Dan Siegel's Healthy Mind Platter

UTenn Veterinary Social Work

UTenn Veterinary Social Work Helpline

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement

Dr. Goldberg's Website and Book Recommendations 

How To Talk To Kids About The Death Of A Pet

Dr Goldberg's Resources For Pets Grieving Other Pets:

University of Florida Article - Reactions of other pets in the home

Huff Post Article - Pets can experience grief, here's what you should know

VCA Article - Helping your grieving pet

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