Counseling & Support

A silouhette of a person and dog touching nose to nose

Promoting the Health and Well-Being of Animals, People, and the Environment

We recognize the unique and lasting bonds between people and their companion animals. As part of the veterinary team, our social worker provides counseling and support, focusing on the needs of individuals and families.

Our social worker is available, at no charge, to provide counseling and support to you if your companion animal experiences an emergency, sudden illness, or is being treated for a chronic condition.

Our social worker advocates for you by helping you navigate difficult decisions regarding your pet’s health. Counseling is available that focuses on pet loss, grief, parent-child discussions, quality of life, and other challenges that you may experience.

You Are Not Alone

Our clinical social worker, Eric Richman, MSW, LICSW, leads a free monthly gathering on the third Tuesday of each month from 5:00-6:00 p.m. No registration is necessary. The group offers support to anyone who anticipates or has experienced the loss of a companion animal.

Counselor: Eric Richman, MSW, LICSW

When: Third Tuesday of each month from 5:00-6:00 p.m.

Where: Virtual via Zoom, contact Eric Richman for details.


Appointment Hours for clients of Foster Hospital for Small Animals
Monday through Friday 9:00AM to 4:00PM

Please email for additional appointment times.

Eric Richman, MSW, LICSW, Veterinary Social Worker
55 Willard Street
North Grafton, MA 01536

Resources for Domestic Violence Survivors and Their Pets

Over the past several years, research has established a link between animal abuse and domestic violence.  This research highlights that violence against a human and abuse of a pet often occurs in the same household.  If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, these resources are available to help all members of the family, including pets.

  • SafeLink

    SafeLink is Massachusetts’ statewide 24/7 toll-free domestic violence hotline and a resource for anyone affected by domestic or dating violence.
    Phone: 877-785-2020

    Safe People Safe Pets

    ​​Safe People Safe Pets works to temporarily place animals while a survivor of domestic abuse is leaving the home and in transition. Safe People Safe Pets work with veterinarians, shelters and volunteer foster homes to provide a temporary safe home until the animal is able to be reclaimed. In order to receive pet fostering services from Safe People Safe Pets, the individual must have a domestic violence advocate call the number provided, on their behalf.
    Phone: 617-999-3055​

    Pets Empower

    PetsEmpower provides temporary pet fostering for people in crisis until they can be reunited with their furry companions. We enable people to move through crisis with the knowledge that their relationship with their pets will be preserved. To sign up for fostering services visit the Pets Empower website at
    Address: 124 Vernon Street Newton, MA 02458

    MSPCA-Angell Safe Pet Program

    Through the Safe Pet program, MSPCA-Angell provides temporary pet foster care for survivors of domestic violence. MSPCA-Angell will foster a pet for up to 2 weeks at their facility, with no domestic violence advocate required. MSPCA-Angell’s emergency room is located at 350 S Huntington Ave, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130.
    Phone: 617-522-7400​

    Elizabeth Freeman Center

    The Elizabeth Freeman Center is an emergency, secure, home-like shelter. The Elizabeth Freeman center also offers pet foster care through a service called the “SafePet” program. Through the Berkshire Humane Society, the “SafePet” program provides foster care for pets if violence has interrupted their care and they need safety. In order to be eligible for the “SafePet” program, you must be a resident of Berkshire County and a client or patient with one of the Partnering Agencies – Elizabeth Freeman Center, The Brien Center, Elder Services of Berkshire County, Elder Protective Services in Berkshire County, or Berkshire Medical Center/Services.
    EFC Pittsfield Office: 413-499-2425
    Lindsay Hermanski, BHS’s SafePet Coordinator: 413-447-7878, ext. 128

    PALS Place

    PALS (People and Animals Living Safely) was established in 2013 to provide co-living options for families and their pets. The goal of the PALS program is to bring joy and comfort to children, individuals, and families seeking refuge at URI shelters by keeping families and their pets together. URI currently offers 66 units of domestic violence shelter across five residences that allow families and pets to live and heal together in the same apartment. PALS is located in New York City.
    Phone: 646-588-0030

    Clarina Howard Nichols Center

    The Clarina Howard Nichols Center offers services such as a 24-hour hotline, advocacy and support services, legal advocacy, medical advocacy, housing advocacy, community advocacy, and an emergency shelter that offers Vermont’s only pet-friendly shelter. The Clarina Howard Nichols Center is located at 31 Lower Main Street, Morrisville, Vermont.
    Phone: 802-888-5256

    Genesis House Emergency Shelter

    Genesis House provides a free, safe haven for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking. The shelter is handicapped-accessible and pet-friendly. The Genesis house is a part of Safe Futures, which is located in New London, CT. To receive services from Safe Futures you must be from one of the towns or cities located in New London, CT county.
    Phone: 860-701-6000

    RedRover Relief Safe Escape Grant

    The RedRover Relief Safe Escape grant program helps families with pets safely escape domestic violence together. Funding is mainly provided to help with the cost of temporary pet boarding while a client is in a domestic violence shelter.
    Phone: 916-429-2457

  • Connecticut

    Safe Futures

    Safe Futures is the first emergency shelter in the State of Connecticut to provide safe housing for pets. The organization received a grant from Red Rover to upgrade its shelter to provide a more welcoming environment for pets. We accept pets in all of our residential programs and our emergency shelter. The Safe Futures hotlines operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
    24-Hour Hotline: 860-701-6001
    Statewide SafeConnect: 888-774-2900


    Safe Voices

    Safe Voices advocates and shelter staff want to work with victims of domestic abuse to keep their pets safe.
    24/7 Helpline: 800-559-2927

    Next Step Domestic Violence Project

    If you are fleeing domestic violence and need a safe, supportive place to stay, our free emergency shelter may be available for you, alone or with your children and pets.
    24/7 Helpline: 800-315-5579


    Clarina Howard Nichols Center

    Clarina operates Vermont’s only companion pet-friendly shelter – a safe environment in which to explore options and identify next steps toward a life free of violence. We recognize that pets are an important emotional support to survivors and their children and may also be abused if they remain in the home.
    Hotline: 802-888-5256
    Business: 802-888-2584

    Surrounding Areas

    Domestic Violence Advocacy Center in New Jersey

    Providing Confidential Services & Support to Adults, Young Adults and Teens, including Friends & Families, impacted by Domestic Violence and Teen Dating Abuse.
    Phone: 856-630-8642

    Domestic Abuse & Sexual Assault Crisis Center in New Jersey

    The shelter is pet-friendly and has a kennel that consists of three units and can cater to house pets of different sizes. These units all have heating and cooling.
    24/7 Helpline: 908-453-4181

    Other Shelters In the United States

    Sheltering Animals and Families Together "SAF-T Program"

  • Dakin Humane Society/Safety Plan for Animals
    171 Union Street, Springfield, Mass.
    Phone: 413-781-4000​

    Womanshelter Companeras
    Holyoke, Mass.
    Phone: 877.536.1628​

    Phinney’s Friends
    Phone: 617-979-8705

    • "A Snowflake in My Hand" - Samantha Mooney, Delta, 1989.
    • "Kindred Spirit, Kindred Care: Making Health Decisions on Behalf of our Animal Companions" - Shannon Fujimoto Nakaya, DVM, New World Library, 2005.
    • "Pets Living with Cancer" - Robin Downing, DVM, American Animal Hospital Association, 2000.
    • "Preparing for the Loss of Your Pet: Saying Goodbye with Love, Dignity and a Peace of Mind" - Myrna Milani, Prima Lifestyles Publishing, 1998.
    • "Surviving the Heartbreak of Choosing Death for Your Pet: Your Personal Guide for Dealing with Pet Euthanasia" - Linda Mary Peterson, Greentree Publishing, 1997.
    • "The Final Farewell: Preparing for and Mourning the Loss of your Pet" - Marty Tousley & Katherine Heurman, Pals Publishing, 1997.
    • "Without Regret: A Handbook for Owners of Canine Amputees" - Susan Neal, Doral Publishing, 2002.
  • Books/Audio Recording for Adults Coping with the Loss of a Companion Animal

    • "A 30-day Guide to Healing from the Loss of Your Pet" - Gael J. Ross, LCSW, Broken Heart Press, 2010.
    • "Bill at Rainbow Bridge" - Dan Carrison, Modern Family Classics Publishing, 2010.
    • "Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates" - Gary Kurz, Citadel, 2008.
    • "Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet" - Moira Anderson Allen, Dog Ear Publishing, LLC, 2007.
    • "Coping with the Loss of a Pet" - Christina Lemieux, W.R. Clark, 1992.
    • "Crossing the Rubicon: Celebrating the Human-Animal Bond in Life and Death" - Julie Kaufman, Xenophone Publications, 1999.
    • Eden Publications Pet Loss Grief and Support
    • "Forever in My Heart: Remembering my Pet’s Life" - Herb & Mary Montgomery, Montgomery Press, 2000.
    • "Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die" - Jon Katz, Villard/Random House Publishing, 2011.
    • "Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet" - Gary Kowalski, New World Library, 2006.
    • "Goodbye My Friend" - Herb & Mary Montgomery, Montgomery Press, 2001.
    • "Grieving the Death of a Pet" - Betty Carmack, Augbburg Fortress Publishers, 2003.
    • "It’s Okay to Cry: Warm Compassionate Stories that Help You Find Hope and Healing after the Death of a Beloved Pet" - Maria Luz Quintana, Shari Veleba, & Harley King, K & K Communications, 2000.
    • "Journey Through Pet Loss" - Deborah Antinori, Yoko Spirit Publications, 1998, Audio Recording.
    • "Legacies of Love: A Gentle Guide to Healing from the Loss of your Animal Loved One" - Theresa Wagner, Matters of the Heart, 1998, Audiobook.
    • "My Personal Pet Remembrance Journal" - Enid Samuel Traisman, Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital, 1997.

    Books for Children Experiencing Loss

    • "A Dog Like Jack" - Dyanne DiSalvo-Ryan, Holiday House, 1999.
    • "A Special Place for Charlee: A Child's Companion Through Pet Loss" - Debra Morehead, Partners in Publishing LLC, 1996.
    • "Badger’s Parting Gifts" - Susan Varley, Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1984.
    • "Cat Heaven" - Cynthia Rylant, Scholastic, 1997.
    • "Dog Heaven" - Cynthia Rylant, Scholastic, 1995.
    • "For Every Cat an Angel" - Christine Davis, Lighthearted Press, 2000.
    • "For Every Dog an Angel" - Christine Davis, Lighthearted Press, 2003.
    • "Goodbye Mousie" - Robie Harris, Simon and Schuster Children's, 2001.
    • "I’ll Always Love You" - Hans Wilhelm, Dragonfly Books, 1988.
    • "I Remember: A Book About My Special Pet" - Herb and Mary Montgomery, Montgomery Press, 2000. (Journal/Workbook/Scrapbook)
    • "Jasper’s Day" - Marjorie Blain Parker, Kids Can Press, 2002.
    • "My Pet Died" - Rachel Biale, Tricycle Press, 1997. (A journal/scrapbook.)
    • "Remembering Pets: A Book For Children who have Lost a Special Friend" - Gina Dalpre-Berman, Robert D. Reed Publishers, 2001.
    • "Remembering My Pet" - Nechama Liss-Levinson & Molly Phinney-Baskette, Skylight Paths Publishing, 2007.(Journal/Workbook/Scrapbook)
    • "Tear Soup" - Pat Schwiebert & Chuck DeKlyen, Perinatal Loss, 2001.
    • "The Dead Bird" - Margaret Brown, Harper Collins, 1995.
    • "The Legend of the Rainbow Bridge" - William N. Britton, Savannah Publishing, 1994.
    • "The Tenth Good Thing About Barney" - Judith Viorst, Aladdin Books, 1987.
    • "Tough Boris" - Mem Fox, Harcourt, 1998
    • "When a Pet Dies" - Fred Rogers, The Putnam and Grosset Group, 1998.
    • “The Invisible Leash”- Patrice Karst, 2019