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We’ll Help You Process the Death of an Animal

Meet Our Facilitators

Michele Shimamura

Michele established Tri-Valley Pet Loss in 2008. She has been providing grief counseling to individuals and groups in the Tri-Valley area for over 21 years.

She has a master’s degree in counseling psychology. Michele is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC #45580) with more than 19 years of experience. Michele co-facilitates our support group. She is also a certified thanatologist, which is granted by the Association of Death Education and Counseling. 

Michele has had many animal companions since she was 5 years old. These included cats, dogs, birds, and a rabbit. Michele has fond memories of every one of them, especially her forever dog, Mandy, who died more than 38 years ago. Her beloved pets taught her many lessons and added much value to her life.


Leslie Haas

Leslie Haas is a bereavement counselor who has been involved in animal rescue for more than 12 years. She has been trained in and has provided grief support for over 7 years.

She has been in this field since 2012. Leslie has had companion animals for most of her life, and she has worked with many of the dog and cat rescue groups in the Tri-Valley area since 2005. This includes Alameda County’s East County Animal Shelter.

Currently, Leslie is working with a cat rescue group that is focused on bottle feeding (neo-natal) kittens. Two of these foster kittens have been adopted by her and now enjoy a life full of love. She has had many cats over the years and found each of them to be a special and joyful part of her life.

What You May Expect From Our Support Group

  • We will provide you with information about the grieving process through group sharing and with the use of printed materials.
  • We will give you an opportunity to tell your story and to talk about your experiences. This is encouraged as a step toward healing. This may not be an easy process. It can be painful and difficult to talk about what happened.
  • We will listen to you carefully and respectfully as you share your thoughts and feelings.
  • We will help you find ways to move toward accepting the reality and irreversibility of your pet’s death.
  • We will help you discover ways to make meaning about your loss and to build continuing bonds with your animal companions.

Our animal friends are often our spiritual guides in life, helping us through hard times and teaching us about love and joy.

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