Preparing for the Loss of a Pet
by The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA
07:26 PM, Thursday, November 10
It’s something we never want to think about, but don’t know where to turn when the time comes. Losing a pet can be truly devastating. How do you cope when you have lost a member of your family? How do you know when it’s the appropriate time to make the difficult decision to have an ill pet euthanized? Where can you turn when the time comes? The San Diego Humane Society understands what a challenging time this can be for a family, and we have resources available to help you get through this difficult experience.

Making Tough Decisions: Having the awareness to ask the questions “When is the right time?”, “How do I make this decision?” means that you are already considering what will be best for your pet. Much like when you first fell in love with your pet, you will “know” when the time is right.

The most important factor in making this decision should be the pet’s ongoing quality of life. We provide our pets with a wonderful, fulfilling life – it’s just as important to meet their needs at the end of their life by not allowing them to suffer unnecessarily. Talk with your veterinarian and your family to get a thorough understanding of your pet’s health, the treatment options that are available and how your pet’s quality of life will be impacted by the illness.

When it’s Time: If you have made the decision to have your pet humanely euthanized but would prefer an alternative to a busy, clinical veterinary office setting, the San Diego Humane Society offers an owner-requested euthanasia service in the privacy of a tranquil Serenity Room, which provides a calming environment that is respectful and sensitive to you and your pet's needs. Owners can choose to be present, will be provided private parking, and can utilize a quiet garden to collect their thoughts. Specially trained staff are available throughout the visit for the comfort of you and your beloved pet.

Coping with Grief: One of the wonderful programs that the San Diego Humane Society is able to offer is a Pet Loss Support Group, which provides an environment where emotions can be shared and feelings of grief are understood and validated. The Pet Loss Support Group is facilitated by a licensed, clinical social worker and there is no cost to attend.

Many members of the San Diego community have utilized these services and, although it can be difficult to discuss or plan for, when the moment arrives, the San Diego Humane Society wants to provide the care and comfort you and your pet deserve. A San Diego resident recently provided these comments:

“Thank you San Diego Humane Society for your sensitivity and kindness with our dear Dalmatian, Kelly. We have had to say goodbye to several pets over the years at veterinarian’s facilities, and none have been as accommodating and thoughtful. Thank you.”

– Cathy and Marc Zemlick, El Cajon

The San Diego Humane Society is committed to the community for the entire lifespan of your pet, regardless of what stage or what difficult decisions need to be made. For more information about these services and the options available, please call us at (619) 299-7012 or visit

About the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA: Serving San Diego County since 1880, the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA’s scope of social responsibility goes beyond adopting animals. The Humane Society offers San Diegans a wide range of programs and services that strengthen the human-animal bond, prevent cruelty/neglect, provide medical care and educate the community on the humane treatment of animals.

As one of San Diego’s oldest nonprofit organizations, the Humane Society has campuses in both San Diego and Oceanside and is supported solely through contributions, grants, bequests, investments, proceeds from the Muttique retail store, and small fees for services. For more information or to see current animals available for adoption, please visit

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