Anyone who has experienced the death of a pet knows how heartbreaking that can be. But for some, the loss of a dog or a cat can be so emotionally wrenching it actually affects their physical and mental health.
The tale of a middle-aged woman so devastated by her dog’s death that she had to be put on a life support system is just one extreme example. But pet owners who even months after a loss still have trouble eating and sleeping are common and in Kansas City mental health professionals say they are increasingly treating patients for chronic depression brought on by the death of a pet. At the Struan Center in south Kansas City psychologist Dr. Raphael Smith runs a regular pet grief group therapy session. KCPT producer Justin Bond got a rare opportunity to take its cameras inside to witness a recent meeting.