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.

During these challenging times, our bereavement group is unable to meet in person and has moved to a virtual setting. The group is led by Estelle Giles-Monroe, LCSW, MSW, and meets the first Thursday of every month.

For more information or questions on our virtual bereavement group, please contact us at 518-783-1398. To participate in the virtual meeting please fill out this form. Once submitted you will be emailed a direct link to attend the meeting. Thank you for your understanding.


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:

Deanne Busch, LCSW, provides support to the clients of Upstate Veterinary Specialties. Her background includes emergency medicine, hospice care, bereavement counseling, and child welfare – specializing in adoption. Deanne provides UVS clients with caring, compassionate and non-judgmental support to guide them through making difficult decisions regarding medical care, quality of life and end of life choices for their beloved pets.


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

COVID-19 Protocols:

Updated: July 5, 2021

UVS is happy to welcome our clients back into the building! Please see the below information regarding reopening and our most current COVID-19 policies.

Clients arriving for their appointment with a specialist or an emergency visit will be directed to call our Client Relations team upon arrival. During your initial phone call with our team, clients will be given three options for proceeding with their appointment.

  1. Continue curbside services and remain in your vehicle.
  2. Wait in your vehicle until your appointment is ready and be taken directly into an exam room.
  3. Enter the building and wait in the lobby.
    • Appropriate spacing in the lobby must be available to proceed with option 3.
    • Please follow social distancing guidelines when in the lobby.


For an appointment or visit within the hospital, either in the lobby or straight to an exam room, we are limiting the number of visitors to two (2) individuals per patient.

Mask Policy:

Face masks are required in all public areas of the hospital. Please take the time to understand why we require masks within the hospital:

  1. UVS will not be asking clients to show proof of their vaccination status.
  2. Human healthcare facilities are one of the exceptions to the new, relaxed CDC masking guidelines. As a medical facility, we are following our human healthcare colleague’s lead.
  3. Our hospital’s work environment has many tight, shared spaces that do not allow for social distancing.
  4. Some of our clients and colleagues are not vaccinated, cannot be vaccinated, or have medical conditions that make them a higher risk for contracting COVID-19.


Thank you for your cooperation and understanding in this matter

Please click here for full details on our COVID-19 protocols, including visitation, euthanasia, and prescription pick-ups.