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Should people get bereavement leave for the death of a pet?


When a pet dies, should the owner get time off from work?


Well, a few states require employers to offer bereavement leave for nonhumans. Colleen Rolland thinks more should.

COLLEEN ROLLAND: I can't tell you how many times I have had clients who have sat across from me and said, I am grieving more for this animal than I did for my mother, father, sister - put in any human relation.

MARTÍNEZ: Rolland is president of the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement, which offer support following the death of an animal.

FADEL: Her opinion matches the way many Americans feel about their pets. A Pew Research study found about half of Americans consider pets family members.

MARTÍNEZ: Elizabeth Morrison (ph) lives in Eureka, Calif.

ELIZABETH MORRISON: I've never had a human walk up my driveway and decide to live with me. Things happen with animal friends that never happen with human friends.

MARTÍNEZ: Morrison says she still misses her cat Meita (ph), who died 30 years ago.

MORRISON: I think it's another world of emotions with animals. There's no complication, no talking, no stories, just the purest love.

FADEL: Employers are taking note. Google, Starbucks, United Airlines and Walmart have embraced a so-called pet-conscious workplace.

MARTÍNEZ: Even without leave, Colleen Rolland says, it's important to grieve the loss of a companion.

ROLLAND: People find it an amazing source of comfort to go to a place where they can safely talk about the grief that they're feeling for their pet.

FADEL: Rolland says when someone you know loses a pet, don't assume they can just get another. Their relationship to a specific animal is personal. Like a person you love, a pet you love can't just be replaced. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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