Pet Loss Network logo
Addressing Pet Loss

About us

The Pet Loss Network takes an expansive definition of ‘loss’, from animal end of life, surrender, separation, theft and loss. 

Our founders

Diane James

Founder

Diane James is the Head of Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Service (PBSS), a free helpline service which supports any type of pet loss, it has been in existence since 1994. Diane joined them in the September of 2014, having experience in training and HR in both private and public sectors, completing a post graduate in counselling. With a love of pets and working in bereavement combined, this is a true vocation for her. Diane says the nucleus of the service is the 250 plus volunteers.

Diane has experience in public speaking, media work which includes radio and television, with podcasts being a particular love, as making people aware of the service is her aim. A firm friendship developed with Professor Julie-Marie Strange, which led to many collaborations and here we are today with the Pet Loss Network, more exciting things to come from us both.

JM Strange, co-founder of Pet Loss Network, and her dog

Julie-Marie (JM) Strange

Founder

Julie-Marie Strange is an historian of inequality and everyday life for humans and animals. Currently based at Durham University, JM is interested in how different inequalities shape the human-animal relationship, including pet loss and the end of animal life. Previous books include Death, Grief and Poverty, 1870-1914 (2005) and the co-authored Pet Revolution: Animals and the Making of Modern British Life (2023) and The Invention of the Modern Dog: Breed and Blood in Victorian Britain (2018).

JM has a wide range of experience in working with non-academic partners around issues of inequality, grief, pets and wellbeing. She has worked with Diane James (Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Service) since 2018 to raise awareness of how best to support humans and animals through loss and end of life.     

Our steering committee

Angie Arora

Committee

Angie Arora is a Social Worker supporting the human needs that arise from human-animal relationships, specializing in veterinary wellbeing, end-of-life/pet loss support, and equity issues within veterinary and shelter medicine.

As a Wellbeing Coach and Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist, Angie provides trauma-informed support and coaching to help animal-care providers foster self and community connection so they can reconnect to themselves and their work in new and improved ways.

She has supported clients through their pets’ end-of-life journey and grief after loss for 18 years through support groups, counselling and public education. She was the principal investigator of an applied research study in collaboration with Seneca College and VCA Canada that developed guidelines for veterinary teams to better support clients through their pets’ end of life.

She completed her Bachelor of Social Work with the Toronto Metropolitan University and Master of Social Work with York University. She is certified in Emotional CPR with the National Empowerment Centre, completed her Compassion Fatigue Specialist certification with the Traumatology Institute and is completing her International Coaching Federation training with the Mind Rebel Academy.

Zoe Belshaw

Committee

Dr Zoe Belshaw is a veterinary surgeon with a clinical specialism in small animal internal medicine. She received a PhD from the University of Nottingham in 2017 for investigating welfare assessment in canine osteoarthritis, and was awarded the BSAVA Petsavers Award in 2020. She has worked in general practice, referral clinics, university teaching hospitals and charity practice. She is currently combining looking after a toddler with collaborative research on how veterinary professionals and owners make decisions about pets with chronic illness, how the quality of life of those pets and owners can best be assessed, and characterising the Pandemic Puppy phenomenon.

Rowena baldwin

Committee

Rowenna is a filmmaker from Burnley, Lancashire. She became part of Pet Loss Network after making a short documentary on the subject of pet bereavement. The film was inspired by her own experiences of pet loss, in particular the loss of her horse, and features interviews with other people about their experiences of pet loss. Before retraining in filmmaking, Rowenna worked in academic research and has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Warwick.

Marie Fox

Committee

Marie Fox holds the Queen Victoria Chair of Law at the University of Liverpool.  Current research projects (funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust, Socio-legal Studies Association, Economic and Social Research Council and Research England) focus on pet loss, and the place of companion animals in care homes, regulation of animal rescues and governance of assisted reproductive technologies and direct to consumer testing.  More generally her research is concerned with the legal governance of human and animal bodies, legal conceptions of embodiment, pet loss and regulation of reproduction. She is a trustee of North West English Springer Spaniel Rescue.

Gabriel Galea

Committee

Dr Galea is an academic veterinarian who works as a research group leader at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health. He is also a Team Lead for the national charity StreetVet, which provides accessible free vet care to pet owners experiencing homelessness. As one of the charity’s original volunteers, he helped develop the procedures the charity uses to support vulnerable service users through pet bereavement. 

David Redmalm

David Redmalm

Committee

David Redmalm is an associate professor in sociology at Mälardalen University, Sweden. He has a special interest in the way people mourn their lost companion animals. Redmalm has interviewed pet owners about their ways of dealing with loss. He has also studied how pet owners expressed their loss in pet cemeteries, on tombstones and by the use of different kinds of mementos and symbols. Furthermore, he has written about condolence cards specially designed for pet owners—a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly common. In addition, Redmalm has a wide interest in the role of animals in society and has studied topics such as representations of dogs in the media, relationships between humans and horses at riding schools, and the use of animal robots in dementia care.

Ashley Rudolph &
Nikki Salkeld

Committee

MOTH is a research project by Senior Lecturers in Graphic Design, Ashley Rudolph and Nikki Salkeld. It investigates the skills and contributions, which communication designers can make to death studies and end of life experiences. Examining contemporary attitudes and anxieties to death, dying and belief systems, through the lens of design communication.

The work focuses upon the importance of ideas as triggers of creativity, as devices for narrative and as loci for opportunities of chance and transition in the context of loss, bereavement, and death symbolism. Investigating how we can confidently express ‘negative’ emotions in both the digital and analogue realm, creating evolved graphic visual language to help navigate grief and sadness and to communicate empathy and loss in our social relationships.

We passionately believe that design can help us to navigate how we approach, end of life, grief and loss. It may not only change the way we die but also help us to think about how we want to live.

https://moth.org.uk/

Ruth Sherlin

Committee

Through her work as a veterinarian, Ruth has been involved in pet loss through euthanasia and death for many years. She has also felt the devastating loss of her own animal friends. Her role as an educator has allowed her to champion the inclusion of euthanasia in undergraduate teaching and for veterinary professionals in practice. She is driven to understand more about the emotions and practices around euthanasia so we can all manage it better, both practically and emotionally. Through her research, she is investigating conversational practices that make these interactions more comfortable for all involved. Her overarching aim is to help us all develop a sense of gentle peace and acceptance of these losses in our lives.

Nora Shuurman

Nora Schuurman

Committee

Nora Schuurman is Academy Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor (Docent) of Human–Animal Studies at the University of Turku, Finland, as well as Adjunct Professor (Docent) of Animal Geography at the University of Eastern Finland. She specialises in human–animal relationality and currently studies interspecies care practices in her project Landscapes of Interspecies Care: Working the Human–Animal Boundary in Care Practices (Academy of Finland, 2018–2023). Her areas of expertise include relationships between humans and companion animals as well as cultural practices and conceptions regarding animal agency, welfare, and death. Schuurman has published widely on human–animal studies and animal geographies, including the book Affect, Space and Animals, co-edited with Jopi Nyman (Routledge 2016). She is the founder on the Turku Human–Animal Studies Network and the co-founder of the Finnish Society for Human–Animal Studies.

Our admin

Lucy Cory Allen

Administrator and Research Associate

Lucy works as administrator and research associate for the Pet Loss Network. She holds a PhD in History from the University of Manchester, with research specialisms in economics, enchantment, and forms of wellbeing in the Victorian and Edwardian periods. She also has extensive experience as an events manager in the wedding industry, a position which highlighted the central role played by animals in families and their life events, having walked (some very excited) dogs down wedding aisles to deliver rings!

Our funders

Our supporters include University of Manchester, Durham University, University of Liverpool, Arts & Humanities Research Council, Socio-Legal Studies Association and Blue Cross.