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Pet guardianship is a significant aspect of many individuals' lives, with their animals providing them with continuous companionship, support, and unconditional love. The loss of a pet can be emotionally devastating and is akin to losing a close family member. In this challenging time, it is crucial that employers acknowledge and support their employees during moments of grief.

Pet Bereavement Leave is not a privilege but a compassionate and humane policy that recognizes the emotional impact of losing a cherished pet. Extending this consideration to pets demonstrates a commitment to the well-being and mental health in the workforce.

Erica Messer, founder and owner of the pet loss support company Wolfie’s Wish, started her business with a commitment to developing and offering valuable as well as unique products, resources, and programs to aid in the healing process of pet loss grief for pet parents.

Erika Sinner, CEO of Directorie and author of Pets are Family, wholeheartedly believes that the introduction of Pet Bereavement Leave will positively impact the workplace environment, fostering a culture of empathy and understanding. Recognizing the emotional toll of pet loss will improve employee morale, loyalty, and productivity.

Together, they advocate for a pet bereavement leave policy that will alleviate the potential shame individuals may feel when requesting time off following the loss of a pet. By establishing structures for employees to take even just a single day off, coupled with the inclusion of Wolfie’s Wish cards, support can be extended to pet parents in acknowledging the reality of their grief and aiding in the processing of emotions.

We, thus, call upon America's top corporations and businesses to lead the way in acknowledging the significance of pet companionship and demonstrating a commitment to the emotional well-being of their employees and customers. By implementing Pet Bereavement Leave, companies are not only supporting the general workforce, but also set a compassionate precedent for other others to follow.

We, the undersigned advocates, experts from the Human Resources industry, and renowned grief specialists join forces with Erica Messer and Erika Sinner to urge you to recognize the emotional impact of Pet Bereavement and to institute at least one day off for employees grieving the loss of a beloved pet.

In signing this petition, we affirm our support for Erica Messer and our collective plea for the inclusion of Pet Bereavement Leave in the workplace policies of America's top corporations and businesses.

“After losing my Kingston, I faced deep grief, a testament to the fact that pets are family members whose absence leaves a void that deserves recognition and time for healing. My experience as a CEO has taught me the value of empathy in leadership—how it not only builds a supportive workplace but also fosters a culture where employees feel genuinely valued and understood. Championing pet bereavement leave goes beyond compassion; it acknowledges the profound effect our personal lives have on our work. By adopting such policies, employers can greatly improve team well-being, showing that during loss, we stand together, offering empathy and support.”

- Erika Sinner , CEO, Directorie and Author of Pets are Family, co-author of this petition

“This is such a beautiful and compassionate initiative and I am full support. In the early 2000s, while working at Johns Hopkins Hospital, I struggled to function after losing my dog. Pet grief wasn't normalized then, leaving me feeling alone. I was physically exhausted by my grief. Despite working with patients with HIV/AIDS, addiction, and psychiatric disorders, I had to show up knowing I couldn't give my best. It was excruciating."

-Suzanne Cannon, MS, MA, Co-Founder VetBilling

"Currently 70% of U.S. homes include at least 1 companion animal, and 87% of guardians regard these animals as family members. From a psychological perspective, I want to validate that it is common and entirely acceptable to feel closer to our animals than our human loved ones. As such, their passing can profoundly affect us in a myriad of ways, with 85% of guardians reporting grief symptoms. Bereavement leave for the loss of animals is necessary, so that we have the time to process and cope both practically and emotionally. My concern is that without this protected space, we may see clinical complications arise in the months and years ahead."

- Dr. Katie Lawlor, Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology

This petition is already being endorsed by the following industry professionals:

Erica Messer, owner and founder of "Wolfie's Wish," Co-Author of this petitionErika Sinner, CEO, Directorie and Author of "Pets are Family," Co-Author of this petitionSuzanne Cannon, MS, MA, Co-Founder VetBillingColeen Ellis, Pet Loss Pioneer, International Speaker, Founder of "Two Hearts Pet Loss Center"Donna Shugart-Bethune, Executive Director, IAOPCCDr. Katie Lawlor, Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology

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