Welcome to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria

Pet Bereavement

Our pets are important members of the family. They are devoted companions who give us their unconditional love and acceptance. For a pet caregiver, the loss of a companion animal can be one of life's most difficult experiences. When we lose a beloved friend, it often helps by sharing our feelings with others who have also experienced a similar loss.

For more than 25 years, Kathy Reiter has helped pet owners cope with their loss through the Pet Loss Support Group meetings at the shelter.

Kathy is recognized as the area's leading authority on pet loss. By training, Kathy is a psychiatric social worker with a specialty in grief and bereavement. She has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS News with Dan Rather and PBS. Kathy has also been featured in The Washington Post, Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping and other widely-circulated magazines.

Kathy was instrumental in establishing the hospice movement in the United States and was directly responsible for the construction of the first hospice in Arlington, VA. While the Arlington hospice was being built, Kathy's beloved cat, Prince, was diagnosed with a terminal illness. While being experienced in human loss, Kathy was now faced with impending pet loss of her animal friend. Kathy turned for help, for resources, and yet found none. Through her own personal experience, Kathy came to realize the need for pet loss support, and generously offers her gentle support to anyone who is grappling with such a loss.

The support group meets at 7:30 PM on the first Wednesday of the month in the shelter's Community Room. There is no charge to attend these meetings and all are welcome.

Please ring the doorbell when arriving at the shelter as we are closed to the public on Wednesdays.