Erica Lee son and Chief screenshot WFOR

When Erica Lee’s dog, “the best dog ever,” passed away, his death left a huge hole in the family.

What Erica needed most was some time off to help her little boy work through the grief of losing his best friend.

Luckily, her employer, pet insurer Trupanion, is one of a number of companies who now empathize enough to offer a bereavement day to those who lose beloved pets.


Many employers will quietly allow people to take vacation time or a personal day for such an occasion, but some actually make it a part of company policy.

Kimpton Hotels, the largest chain of boutique hotels in the U.S. is one of those companies. Founder Bill Kimpton is an animal lover who was known for bringing Chianti, his pet border collie, to work with him every day starting in 1981. His company has supported “the special relationship humans have with their pets” and allowed managers to grant up to three days of paid bereavement leave for the loss of an animal companion.

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Along with Trupanion, software company VM Ware, insurance company Maxwell Health, and candy and pet food maker Mars, Inc. also have policies that allow varying amounts of time away from work after a loss.

A 2009 study, published in the journal Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, found nearly a third of all people who lose a pet feel sadness and grief for six months or more. Some experience the effects of post traumatic stress.

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The Humane Society of the United States offers a guide on its website for dealing with the loss of a pet and local animal welfare groups can provide help.

A spokeswoman for Seattle-based Trupanion says it’s important for people to have closure after losing an animal that’s been part of their family.

That time off let Erica help her son deal with the death of Chief.

“Being able to stay home with him and grieve with him was invaluable. It was so, so important to me.” Erica told WFOR News. “This should absolutely be the norm.”

(WATCH the video below from WOCHIT News)

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