Counseling and Support Services

Woman with horse at sunset

We are committed to promoting advancements that improve the health and well-being of animals, people and the environment. We recognize the unique and lasting bonds that exist between humans and their horses, as well as other companion animals. As a crucial member of the veterinary team, our social worker provides counseling and support by focusing on the needs of individuals and families.

Our social worker is on-hand to provide free counseling and support if your horse 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 horse’s health. Counseling is available for support around pet loss, grief, parent-child discussions 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.


Eric Richman, MSW, LICSW

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 Cummings Veterinary Medical Center
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.

    Contact Information:
    Phone: 877-785-2020

    Safe People Safe Pets
    What is the Safe People Safe Pets program?
    ​​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. 

    Contact Information:
    Phone: 617-999-3055​

    Pets Empower
    What is PetsEmpower?
    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

    Contact Information:
    Location: 124 Vernon Street Newton, MA 02458

    MSPCA-Angell Safe Pet Program
    What is the 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.

    Contact information:
    Phone: 617-522-7400​

    Elizabeth Freeman Center
    What is the 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.

    Contact information:
    EFC Pittsfield Office (main office)
    Phone: 413-499-2425
    Lindsay Hermanski, BHS’s SafePet Coordinator, at 413-447-7878, ext. 128

    PALS Place
    What is 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.

    Contact information:
    Phone: 646.588.0030

    Clarina Howard Nichols Center
    What is the 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.

    Contact information:
    Phone: 802-888-5256

    Genesis House Emergency Shelter
    What is the 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.

    Contact information:
    Phone: 860-701-6000

  • Dakin Humane Society/Safety Plan for Animals
    171 Union Street, Springfield, Mass.

    Womanshelter companeras
    Holyoke, Mass.

    Phinney’s Friends