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Animal-Related Grief & Bereavement

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Online Module

Animal Related Bereavement: Implications for Social Work Practice

Animal related grief and bereavement is a real form of loss.  Many health professionals miss the intensity of the loss as well as the opportunity for healing that resides in the special bereavement process. This certificate provides education, training, and experience in helping people through this form of loss through didactic and experiential means.  The online module is a pre-requisite to the face to face workshop.

Through this online module students will be able to:

  • Identify special considerations regarding the loss of an animal.
  • Identify and discuss grief experiences for special populations.
  • Identify at least 3 evidence-based treatment interventions for animal loss.
  • Identify at least 5 rituals or ways to memorialize after an animal’s death.

“This program is Approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval # 886617824-5453) for 18.5 continuing education contact hours.”


Sarina Manifold, LCSWSarina is the Clinical Social Worker at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center, where she provides crisis intervention, end-of-life and treatment decision-making, and grief counseling to clients of the Small and Large Animal Hospitals as well as to members of the community.  She oversees communication training for UTCVM’s veterinary medical students and also holds an Assistant Professor of Practice appointment at the University of Tennessee College of Social Work. She graduated from High Point University in High Point, NC with her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee.

Sarina has had an interest in grief and bereavement support for many years. As a Veterinary Social Worker her main focus is on grief and bereavement support for individuals and families who have experienced the death of their companion animal. She also has an interest in compassion fatigue support and communication skills for animal related professionals.


Katherine Goldberg, DVM, MSW

Katherine earned her DVM from Cornell in 2004, completed a rotating small animal internship and continued along the emergency/critical care path, ultimately returning to Cornell as an instructor in emergency/critical care in 2006. While in the ICU she developed an interest in the ethics of intensive care for animals, the impact of critical illness on family dynamics, as well as palliative medicine & hospice care. She then spent 3 years in general practice, providing client consultation on palliative medicine options, death & dying, as well as in-home euthanasia services, before exclusively dedicating herself to family centered end of life care.

She became a trained volunteer for Hospicare & Palliative Care Services of Tompkins County in Fall 2009, and founded her practice Whole Animal Veterinary Geriatrics & Hospice Services in 2010. Whole Animal is one of the only practices in the country exclusively dedicated to this area of care that is not focused primarily on mobile euthanasia services. She is currently a member of Hospicare’s Ethics Committee & is dedicated to exploring the connection between hospice services for people and animals.

Katherine has a courtesy lecturer appointment at Cornell and has significantly increased student exposure to end of life topics since 2012. In addition to end of life material within the core curriculum, her course, “Gerontology, Hospice & Palliative Medicine for Veterinarians” was first offered in 2015. She is trained in the Serious Illness Communication Guide developed by the palliative medicine teams at Harvard Medical School & the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Social Work at Syracuse University. At Syracuse, she is part of the team developing a certificate of advanced study in Human-Animal Interactions for the BSW and MSW programs.

She is co-founder of the Veterinary Society for Hospice and Palliative Care – the only hospice organization exclusively dedicated to veterinarians. Katherine is dedicated to the development of an AVMA/ABVS-recognized veterinary specialty in Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

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