APLB Online Seminars
Pet Loss Counselor Training

Download the Screening Test for Potential Applicants

We teach excellence in pet bereavement counseling. It is our watchword. Here we show motivated students that they can reach down deep within themselves, and come up with some unexpected and amazing things. This is a demanding course that requires dedication and diligent work. However, it is worth all the effort. In setting the standards for our new profession, we make a strong distinction between offering a client “warm fuzzies” in place of effective, focused and clearly planned counseling.

Our graduates become the best pet bereavement counselors, and we constantly receive correspondence from them, saying how much they appreciate having been required to give that extra effort to meet our high standards.

We make full use of The Loss of a Pet (Fourth Edition) as a course textbook for constant reference and resource in this curriculum. It is important to have a hard copy of this title, as it has been found that a downloadable E-book does not serve well as a reference textbook for any training course. Another prerequisite is membership in the APLB.

The tuition for this course is $300. A pro-rated refund can be made only if the registrant requests this before the third week. But we will have to charge $25 to cover our bank expenses in processing this. And a $25 cost-of-handling fee will also be deducted to pay for the extensive clerical work that involves. Please note there will be no refunds for anyone leaving the course after that. We will all be committed to working hard and completing the course, together.

This class is offered every January and August, and enrollment is limited to 25. When that number is reached, registration is shut down. People who are already dues-paid members receive advance notice when registration opens, to help assure that they will get enrolled.

Effective counselors must be able to explain things clearly, and simplify the client’s perceptions so they can be more easily dealt with and re-shaped. Developing appropriate counseling strategies requires sharp focus on the presenting problems. Our homework essay assignments teach and develop that skill. Unfortunately, some very well-intended students lack that particular aptitude, and they are unable to pass the course. We regret this, but the APLB’s standards were established and implemented to ensure excellence in pet bereavement counseling. This course is not for everyone.

The five weeks of training are not easy. On average, 8-10 hours of study and work are needed, for each week’s assignment. But some of our learners get so motivated that they put in even more time in preparation. Our students must have the self-discipline needed to be able to focus clearly on only what is being specifically asked for. And they must be able to write without any digression from those points. All the answers can be found in the assigned readings.

Other than these conditions there are no formal requirements, such as prior training or counseling experience. Again, it requires reasonable skill in writing focused essay answers, and a capacity and willingness to learn and meet our demands for excellence. Each applicant will be sent a short qualification form to try to assure this.

If you need additional communication and clarification beforehand, please feel free to contact Dr. Sife at sife@aol.com. To be eligible, we suggest that you join us and get the book, now, and are better prepared when the next class begins. The Fourth Edition of The Loss of a Pet can be easily obtained by going to the Bibliography Page on our website, and clicking on that title. You will be connected directly to Amazon.com, with the book already highlighted, for your convenience.

You need to be online only twice each week for this course – unless additional Email communication is necessary. After you start, each week’s assignment will be Emailed to you as a .pdf file, and you will then have up to one week to prepare and submit the homework. That is to be sent back as an attached Word or WordPerfect file.

In each of the five sessions, students will be given essay-type assignments based on that week’s instruction, as well as designated reading in the Fourth Edition. The sole basis for all homework questions is in each session’s assigned reading. As mentioned previously, 8–10 hours of careful preparation are required for this. If that is not done, it will be very apparent, and not be possible to receive a passing grade.

Short or buckshot responses to our questions are not acceptable. All the answers must be focused only on what is asked, written in clear and detailed exposition of the ideas asked for, and based only on the assigned reading. Students who experience problems are encouraged to speak with Dr. Sife, who will be glad to reach out to help them individually. We want you to be comfortable with the requirements for this course. As already mentioned we are all committed to working hard and completing this, together.

Each of the five sessions will be sent out on a Friday night, giving students seven days to their work. Homework must be completed, and Emailed to Dr. Sife for evaluation no later than 1 PM (Eastern) by the following Friday of each week. If any assignment is not successfully done, or not returned by the deadline, enrollment may be terminated at our discretion, with no extensions or appeal. Again, total commitment and diligence is required. Payment of tuition does not assure passing.

After completing this unique course of instruction our highly regarded APLB Certificate of Training will be awarded and mailed to the trainee. Ten CE credits are also included, as authorized by NASW. and the American Association of Veterinary State Boards

If requested, we will be pleased to post each graduate’s pet bereavement service on our website’s Counselors’ Page. Of course, there is no charge for that.


Each session is based on the posted instruction for that week, and assigned readings in The Loss of a Pet (Fourth Edition)

Session 1 will include coverage of the first three chapters of the book and an introduction to petloss counseling.

Session 2 will include chapters 4 through 9, the loss experience, and the stages of bereavement.

Session 3 will include chapters 10 through 12, an overview of Cognitive Behavioral theory, and children and petloss.

Session 4 will include chapters 13 through the end, and euthanasia. Session 5 will test your skills as a petloss counselor, based on this course of instruction.

Session 5 is the final exam – a practicum of six different scenarios. The student is to write a comprehensive essay on each, saying how he/she would counsel a person in each situation. All these circumstances have been covered in the training.

Generally, this online course is offered twice yearly – in January and August. Registration dates are not announced until then. As a special benefit, we give advanced notice of this to our members. We do that because the 25-person enrollment limit fills up very quickly – in less than three days, after posting it on our website.

Since being a member is one of the required prerequisites for these classes, we suggest that you join now, and start enjoying some of the other benefits. You will like our newsletters. And reading The Loss of a Pet now will be an immediate advantage and preparation for the course.

Fees will not be processed until after a screening test for eligibility is passed. As already mentioned, this is not an easy course, and it will require determination and lots of time.