The First Goodbye: Supporting Children through Pet Loss for the Veterinary Professional
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The First Goodbye: Supporting Children through Pet Loss for the Veterinary Professional

The First Goodbye: Supporting Children through Pet Loss for the Veterinary...

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Hope Veterinary Specialists

40 Three Tun Road

Malvern, PA

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Jennifer Durn, MSW, LSW
Support Service Coordinator


The topic of children and pet loss is one that requires attention in order for veterinary staff to be able to effectively communicate with clients on how to assist their children through one of the most difficult times of their life.  Losing a pet can impact the entire family, but it can be especially painful for children because it is typically their first encounter with death.  For most children, the loss of a beloved companion animal is an overwhelmingly painful experience.  Children need support and guidance to comprehend the loss and move forward in the grieving process while continuing to honor their pet’s memory.  Veterinary staff has the opportunity to make a positive impact on clients by educating them on grief and pet loss, which in turn will help children to shape their response to future losses.  In many instances, veterinary professionals are not fully prepared to aid their clients when dealing with children following the loss of a pet.  The goal of the lecture is to provide veterinary professionals with the necessary tools to assist clients with helping their children through critical and life-changing moments.  

In this lecture, the veterinary professional will learn beneficial information to better assist their clients on the following:

  • The strong bond between children and their companion animals
  • When to involve children in the decision-making process
  • Importance of being open and honest when communicating with children
  • Guide children through pet illness, death, and after the loss
  • The recommended age a child can be present during a euthanasia procedure
  • How the age of a child can influence his or her reaction to grief and loss
  •  Suggested literature for children on pet loss
  • Methods to assist children with moving forward from the loss

Dinner and Registration: 6:30pm

Lecture Start: 7:00 - 8:00pm

Questions and Answer: 8:00- 8:30pm


This program 1008-26456 is approved by the AAVSB RACE to offer a total of 1.00 CE Credits (1.00 max) being available to any one veterinarian: and/or 1.00 Veterinary Technician CE Credits (1.00 max). This RACE approval is for the subject matter categorie(s) of: Category Three: Non-Scientific-Practice Management/Professional Development using the delivery method(s) of: Seminar/Lecture. This approval is valid in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB RACE; however, participants are responsible for ascertaining each board's CE requirements. All lectures are given in a classroom setting and no registration fee is required. HOPE VS RACE Provider #1008. 


Jennifer Durn, MSW, LSW acquired a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from Mansfield University.  With the primary goal of working in the veterinary realm, Jennifer pursued a Master of Social Work degree from Marywood University.  While in graduate school, Jennifer participated in internships within the fields of hospice and oncology, and also studied International Social Work in South Korea.  During Jennifer’s second year of graduate school, she created her own internship within a small animal hospital where she supported clients and staff through emotionally charged situations.

Jennifer has experience working with adults, children, and families in a community mental health setting.  She specializes in supporting clients deeply affected by traumatic events and those who require support with grief and loss.  Jennifer received additional training in mediation, animal-assisted interactions, and compassion fatigue.  Passionate about animal welfare and disaster response, she volunteers at a local animal sanctuary, and is a member of her local Animal Response Team, as well as the Disaster Mental Health Team with the Red Cross.

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Hope Veterinary Specialists

40 Three Tun Road

Malvern, PA

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