The Behaviour Sleuths Investigate…Pet Loss

Published on April 11, 2022

In this series of the Behaviour Sleuths we investigate pet loss. If you have experienced pet loss or may be preparing to lose a pet, please join us to discuss research, personal experiences and resources.

Episode 1
In this first episode join us as Monica shares research about attachment / loss and Sala shares her story of pet loss.

Episode 2
In this episode, Vivien shares her personal story of pet loss. We discuss different ways in which pet parents may seek to remember their lost pet and different ideas about what may help. We acknowledge that we all grieve differently. If you are grieving, giving yourself space and time to grieve in your own way is important.


Episode 3
In the last episode we talk about some of the resources that are available to help deal with pet loss in different ways.

The factors that make pet loss so difficult include: connection, attachment a stronger bond during life – stronger continuing bond = greater grief. If you are not surrounded with people who can support you and validate your grief consider finding support through a professional or in some of the ways below.

Adopt a flexibility mindset – Optimism, ability to see negative events as a challenge, and the confidence in your ability to cope. This can increase your actual ability to cope with what is happening.

Pet product companies – headstones, urns, memorial art pieces, shrines – help to maintain continuing bonds

Animal assisted therapy – helping another animal in a rescue organization or to adapt to their new home. You may not be ready to adopt, would you be ready to foster? or to help out?

Create music for your pet – see the Guardian article link below about commissioning music for your pet Write a gratitude letter to your pet – like Vivien did in Episode 2. Or even journal and write down all the funny stories you remember. Having these to look back on one day will bring a smile and not a tear.

Videos / photos – like Vivien who made a video to share with friends and family. Visit the website rainbow bridge – if you are ready.

All links and references to articles below:

The Rainbow Bridge

Every Dog Deserves a Musical Tribute The Guardian

Decoding Trauma: TC’s George Bonanno on 9/11, the Pandemic and How Flexibility is the Key to Survival

Field NP, Orsini L, Gavish R, Packman W. Role of attachment in response to pet loss. Death Stud. 2009 Apr;33(4):334-55. doi: 10.1080/07481180802705783. PMID: 19368063.

Volsche, Shelly. (2019). Pet Parents and the Loss of Attachment. 10.4324/9780429505201-5.

Compitus, Katherine. (2019). Traumatic Pet Loss and the Integration of Attachment-Based Animal Assisted Therapy. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. 29. 119-131. 10.1037/int0000143.


If you feel like you need to talk to someone, then please do contact me to set up an online session at the MindnLife Clinic.  Call 2521 4668 or email

Category(s):Grief, Loss, Bereavement, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD

Written by:

Dr Monica Borschel

Welcome! My passion is to help you find inner peace and emotional comfort within yourself and your relationships.

As social creatures, our relationships significantly shape our happiness, well-being, and sense of self-worth. Unfortunately, many of us have experienced relationship-related traumas, which can leave us with emotional scars that require recovery.

Attachment traumas, such as divorce, break-ups, infidelity, neglect, and abuse, can be challenging. As an expert in attachment, loss, and trauma, I have spent many years studying how attachment styles can shift with loss and trauma.

I have seen how healthy relationships can lead to secure attachment and how insecure attachment can create turmoil in our lives. I aim to guide you toward cultivating healthy relationships with yourself, your children, your co-parent, and your romantic partner.

I can help you develop new attachment strategies that will allow you to form deeper connections and bonds with those around you. And, if you have children, I can also assist you in establishing secure attachments with both parents, which can be especially helpful in cases of separation or divorce.

I am originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, where I completed my Bachelor of Science in Psychology at The University of Utah. From there, I moved to New York City, earning my Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. I then pursued my Doctorate in Social Work and Social Administration at the University of Hong Kong. I lived and worked in Hong Kong as a practicing Clinical Psychologist from 2010-2020. I reside in California and am pursuing my Doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) at California Southern University. My training and qualifications include certifications in Brainspotting and High Conflict Coaching.

These tools, combined with my extensive knowledge and experience in the field, enable me to offer you the guidance and support you need to recover from past traumas and build healthy relationships.

My approach to therapy is empathetic, supportive, and tailored to your unique needs. Every person can grow, and thrive. I am committed to helping you achieve your goals. So, whether you are struggling with relationship issues, divorce, abuse, attachment traumas, or other challenges, I am here to help you find the peace and comfort you deserve.

Email me at or call the MindnLife Clinic at 852 2521 4668