Pandemic Brings New Light To Pet Grief Counseling: 'It Makes The Loss Even Greater'

Animal Talks is a local business that aims to help people deal with the loss of a pet. WBZ-TV's Rachel Holt.

Video Transcript

- --a pet is always painful. But for many people, that loss has been even more devastating during the pandemic.

- That's why one local man is on a mission to help people heal. WBEZ's Rachel Holt has his story.

KALEEL SAKAKEENY: The pandemic is a grief. We are experiencing a profound grief period. It's about loss. Loss of so many different things.

RACHEL HOLT: It's a service that's become especially important during the pandemic. Pet grief counseling.

KALEEL SAKAKEENY: They need the company. They need the companionship. And so, therefore, when that ends and they've had that comfort for the pandemic, it makes the loss even greater.

RACHEL HOLT: Kaleel Sakakeeny of Roslindale is an ordained animal chaplain and pet grief counselor, one of few in the country. In 2019, he founded Animal Talks, a local business that aims to help people deal with the loss of a pet.

KALEEL SAKAKEENY: I'm helping people become aware of its legitimacy, its reality, and its effect on people emotionally, psychologically physically. It changes their lives completely.

RACHEL HOLT: It's where Charlene Aesenault and Maura Stevens turned after losing their dog Ebbie.

CHARLENE ARSENAULT: Went through some coping mechanisms and just strategies to try to deal with the overwhelming grief that can hit you when you least expect it.

RACHEL HOLT: Kaleel started at his business after experiencing a pet loss of his own and realizing there were few resources available to help him with his grief. Now he's hoping to be that source of help for others.

KALEEL SAKAKEENY: If I was feeling pain and didn't know where to turn, I imagined, without too much effort, other people were feeling a profound loss and had no place at the turn.

CHARLENE ARSENAULT: The understanding is growing because of people like Kaleel.

MAURA STEVENS: Yeah, there are more advocates.

CHARLENE ARSENAULT: He's bringing attention to it.

RACHEL HOLT: For WBEZ News, I'm Rachel Holt.