Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
April 18, 1997

Support for those whose pets have died

by Steve Jones
A new phone service in the College of Veterinary Medicine is helping people cope with the death of a beloved pet. The pet loss support hotline is a toll-free phone service providing counseling for persons grieving the loss of a pet or companion animal, such as a horse. The support hotline is the first in Iowa and one of the few in the United States.

"In recent years, we've come to realize the strength of the human-animal bond," said Loren Will, an ISU veterinarian and faculty adviser to the student project. "For a lot of people, pets are members of the family. Many people are very close to their animals."

The hotline is staffed by trained volunteers 6-9 p.m. daily September through April, and Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from May through August. At other times, a caller may leave a message. Calls are returned as soon as possible, Will said. The toll-free number is 1-888-ISU-PLSH (1-888-478-7574).

Counselors, most of whom are veterinary medicine students, also will provide information on topics such as euthanasia.

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