Companies now offering pet bereavement days for loss of 4-legged friends

Warren Armstrong Image
Friday, June 30, 2017
Mourning a four legged friend
Erica Lee said words can't describe what she felt when she lost her beloved dog, Chief.

Erica Lee said words can't describe what she felt when she lost her beloved dog, Chief.

"Chief was the best dog ever, he was very sweet, loving--I was heartbroken."

Luckily, Lee's company allowed her to take a day off to stay home with her son who also had a hard time understanding the huge loss.

"Being able to stay home with him and grieve with him was invaluable; it was so, so important to me."

Pet bereavement days are not required under federal law and we couldn't find any state laws on the books. But we did find several national companies that allow mourning pet owners time off to grieve.

VM Ware and Maxwell Health give employees flexible days off. Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants allows managers to grant up to three days away from work. And Trupanion's policy gives employees one paid pet bereavement day.

"We allow people to actually do that grieving process and just, just be able to heal. I think you need closure when you lose a pet and it's important to have the time to do that," said Dani Kahn, Trupanion.

Thirty-percent of surveyed pet owners say they felt grief and sadness for at least six months after losing an animal.

Pet Grief Counselor Janet Zimmerman warns for some people losing their pet can be a defining moment.

"The loss of a beloved pet is extremely devastating. I've seen people who cannot get up out of bed at all; they don't accept phone calls. They are just really so lost."

Zimmerman said it's critical grieving pet owners be given time off.

"It's really very, very difficult to function, and if you can't function, you certainly can't function at work, and you're really not the person you were before. You need the time to get back to some sense of normality."

Lee said she is thankful for the time she had to grieve and the support she had from her employer.

"This should absolutely be the norm for many businesses, if not all."

Pet Loss Counselors also recommend reaching out to other pet owners and co-workers who understand what it's like to lose a pet and can help during the grieving process.