Training and Education – Courses

The Pet Loss Grief Specialist training program will be offered two times a year.

This 8-week intensive training is facilitated by leaders in the organization and aims to provide background information on effective practices for engaging in pet loss work. This training program does not prepare individuals to provide professional counseling services to individuals. Please review pertinent licensing laws for counseling professionals in your area for more information on educational requirements.

This training program is open to Silver, Platinum, and Professional members only. Announcements for program registration and procedures will be sent out via email to members.

Students in this course do not need to have a veterinary or mental health background, but rather a desire to help others through their grief process after the loss of an animal companion/fur family member. Students who complete the course will be eligible to assist in the pet loss chat rooms under supervision of the Chat Host.


Students must:

  • Have access to the Internet (unrestricted) and have a computer with a Webcam (or other ways to video conference);
  • Have a GMail Account with an email address;
  • Have a working knowledge and proficiency in the English language (or a reliable translation software);
  • Be able to commit roughly 10 hours a week to the training content;
  • Be able to attend at least 2 different chat rooms during the 8-week period; and
  • Have a passion for guiding people through their grief.
  • Content by Week:
    • Week 1: Overview of Pet Loss Grief Specialist Work
    • Week 2: The Human Animal Bond
    • Week 3: Overview of Models of Grief
    • Week 4: Types of Grief and Loss
    • Week 5: Helping Others through Pet Loss
    • Week 6: Loss in Special Populations
    • Week 7: Pet Loss and Spirituality
    • Week 8: Entering the Pet Loss Field

Our graduates become Pet Loss Grief Specialists, and tell us 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 textbook for reference and resource in this curriculum. It is important to have a hard copy of this title. 

The tuition for this course is US $425. A pro-rated refund is available if the registrant requests this before the third week. There is a $50.00 administration and processing fee that will be deducted from your refund.

This class is offered every February and September, and enrollment is limited to 20. People who are APLB members receive advance notice when registration opens to help ensure enrollment. * Dates are subject to change in 2022.

Effective pet loss grief specialists must be able to explain concepts clearly, and simplify the client’s perceptions which can then be more easily re-shaped. Developing appropriate coping strategies requires sharp focus on the presenting problems. Our homework 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 assistance. 

After completing the course, students will receive an APLB Pet Loss Grief Specialist Training Certificate by mail. Continuing Education credits are also included, as authorized by NASW and the American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

APLB Pet Loss Grief Specialist Training

woman and golden retriever

Prior to 1998, there had never been any kind of formal training or certification in the United States for pet bereavement counselors. In answer to that need, we created the APLB counselor training programs and our Certificate of Training, which were offered at our bi-annual conferences. Later, we developed and implemented a more in-depth online version of that instruction.

As a result of our achievements in what was then an emerging field, other organizations offer programs of their own.

Since most states and jurisdictions have recently defined the word “counselor” as someone who is certified by their own legal rules and regulations, as of January 2021, we have changed the name of our training to “Pet Loss Grief Specialist”. The curriculum and resources have been updated to reflect the changes in this, now-established, field of interest and study.

If you are interested in our program, we invite you to complete the form to the right and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.