Veterinary Social Work

At Upstate Veterinary Specialties, we are not only dedicated to serving our animal patients, but we are dedicated to serving our human clients as well. UVS is proud to offer the services of a veterinary social worker as part of your experience with our hospital. Our social workers will be there for you with compassionate, nonjudgmental support, and can assist with helping you make treatment decisions, liaising between your medical team, coping with grief and loss, or just being an empathetic presence during challenging times.

Animal Companion Bereavement Group

When we lose our pets, we lose the love and companionship of a beloved family member. For many of us, this loss brings overwhelming feelings of sadness. Your grief is a reflection of the love that you had for your pet and is completely natural and normal. At Upstate Veterinary Specialties, we understand the devastation of saying goodbye to a pet, and we are here to support you in every way we can.

Our Animal Companion Bereavement Group is the Capital District’s first support group of its kind, created out of the necessity to grieve the deaths of our family with fur. We have been gathering for meetings since early 2012 in a supportive atmosphere with like-minded individuals who need to share the pain of losing our friends, service animals, and companions. Our Animal Companion Bereavement Group offers a supportive, judgment-free environment that supports the idea that these companions cannot be replaced, however, over time, healing and recovery from pain strengthens best when you are not alone.

The group is led by Estelle Giles-Monroe, LCSW, MSW and meets the first Thursday of every month.

UVS Animal Companion Bereavement Group
First Thursday of every month at 7:00 PM
Capital District Behavioral Health
20 Century Hill Drive, Suite 202
Latham, NY 12110

*Notice of attendance is appreciated

Contact Upstate Veterinary Specialties today for more information on the next group session. You can call us at (518) 783-3198 or email us at


Additional Social Work Services Offered at UVS:

  • Guidance in treatment decision-making
  • Managing the demands of chronic illness
  • Addressing family conflict and crisis
  • Facilitating communication with the veterinary team
  • Emotional support during end-of-life transitions
  • Animal bereavement support group meetings
  • Help to adjust to the loss of a beloved pet
  • One-on-one short-term grief counseling sessions at no cost to clients
  • Information regarding referral community resources


Meet our Veterinary Social Workers:

Kat Owens, MSW, provides support to the clients of Upstate Veterinary Specialties. Along with a background in medical social work and emergency services, Kat is certified in animal-assisted social work and understands the important roles that animals play in our lives as friends, companions, and family members. Kat is committed to providing the clients of UVS with compassionate, thoughtful, and non-judgmental support as they navigate their pets’ medical care and end of life.


Estelle Giles-Monroe, LCSW, MSW provides individual and group therapy support to the clients of Upstate Veterinary Specialists. Her career includes working in behavioral health specializing in adult and adolescent care, trauma recovery, emergency medicine, and stress disorders. Since 2012, Estelle has provided clients with our Animal Companion Bereavement Group to assist Upstate Veterinary Specialist families facing the grief and loss of their loved one. She supports clients to reach out for assistance when challenged by decision making for their beloved animal companions.

Upstate Veterinary Specialties

Upstate Veterinary Specialties