Credit: Fox

If there’s one downside to being the pet parent of a beloved furry friend, it’s that most pet owners will outlive their dogs and cats. For many of us, our companion animals are family. We feel every bit as close to them as we do the people in our lives. They GET US.

Credit: NBC

Losing a cat or dog is a devastating experience. A New Zealand study of pet owners and bereavement found that “50-60% of the subjects were as attached to their pets as they were to humans or more so,” and concluded that counseling for people experiencing the loss of companion animals was a very real need.

Unfortunately, mourning the death of a pet is sometimes made all the more difficult when other people don’t really understand how hard it can be. Non pet owners may not be able to relate, and support systems for pet loss aren’t always readily available. Which is why we’re super grateful that a few amazing companies are setting a great example by offering paid pet bereavement leave.

According to a new report by CBS Miami, software company VM Ware and Maxwell Health each offer flexible days off, while Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants allow managers to grant up to three days away from work. Trupanion, a pet insurance company, grants one day of paid leave for grieving pet owners. Dani Kahn, a spokesperson for the company says, “We allow people to actually do that grieving process and just to be able to heal. I think you need closure when you lose a pet, and it’s important to be able to have that time to do that.”

We applaud these awesome workplaces, and we hope that more companies will follow suit. To hear more about this new trend that we’re fully behind, take a look at the video below. And if you or someone you know is mourning a companion animal, you can get help here.