PAWS Pathway

Grief Support with a Focus on the Human Animal Bond

Learn More

Welcome To PAWS Pathway



Jenny, Endi, and Charlie at Christmas

Animals change our lives from the moment they look at us with their soulful eyes, wet noses, precious kisses, playful tails, wiggly bodies, cuddles and purrs, and always their soothing comforting time with us.

No words can ever express the beautiful, precious love our best friends give us with their peaceful presence every day. They love us unconditionally, always and forever. They accept us for who we are and never would judge us.

One day, sooner than we can ever imagine, our precious pets will pass on and leave us. While they are forever in our hearts and memories, they are not physically at our sides, which is more unbearable than we can even imagine. How do we handle these heartbreaking moments? What do we do without our best friend at our side? How do we keep moving?

The answer is this: PAWS Pathway.

PAWS Pathway is our life path through pet loss where our pets have imprinted on our hearts with their paw prints, kisses, and cuddles, and we honor their memories through our future words/actions.

PAWS Pathway is also:

A path that helps us better understand our emotions, actions, reflections, and relationships (people/animals).

  • A path of inspiration from our past moments together to our future moments after they’re gone.
  • A path where we can lean on our memories, learn to walk alongside our grief, accept, and embrace it- rather than seeking to forget or overcome. This may be additionally known as “Good Grief” or “Love Living On through Our Grief.”

Counseling Services




Our life path has forever changed with the loss of our best friends, but they are always by our side.

PAWS: Pets Are Wonderful Souls

  • React
  • Remember
  • Reflect
  • Re-Energize
  • Rejoice

PAWS: Pets Always Will Support

We will always love and miss our friends. With PAWS Pathway, we can keep honoring our pets, remembering them daily, and maintaining a healthier and peaceful state of mind.

The first step is here… PAWS, take a deep breath and start your path toward your own pathway. I am here to help you, guide you, comfort you, and support you along your PAWS Pathway journey. You are not alone.

Book A Session

Counseling Services

PAWS Pathway has two special meanings

PAWS Pathway has two special meanings: PETS ARE WONDERFUL SOULS and PETS ALWAYS WILL SUPPORT. Our Pets will always be with us throughout our personal life pathway through both our words and actions and always in our hearts.

Throughout your own PAWS Pathway, you may frequently encounter a variety of emotions and tremendous need for comfort, which I will help guide you through. You will always want to take your time to grieve, reflect, and understand your feelings. Pause (PAWS) to REACT to your emotions, REMEMBER your pet through special services or actions, REFLECT on your relationship with your pet, RE-ENERGIZE your life to a more manageable physical /mental lifestyle, and REJOICE forever in your love from your lost pet (and the possible joy of meeting new animals in your life).

PAWS Pathway counseling sessions include: Anticipatory Pet Loss, Quality of Life Discussions, Pet Loss (Short term/Long term), and more.

  • REACT: Numerous Emotions, Anxiety, Guilt, Longing, Other Pet’s Grief.
  • REMEMBER: Special ways to Honor Your Pet (Service, Artistic Piece, Celebration of Life, Bucket List, etc).
  • REFLECT: Coping Skills, Understanding/Analyzing Life and Death of Your Pet, Complicated/Prolonged Grief, Traumatic Grief, Disenfranchised (Unacknowledged) Grief, Unique relationships - Children, Elderly, Special Needs, Service Animals, etc.
  • RE-ENERGIZE: Renewed Physical/Mental Focus on Self, Breathing Exercises, Mindfulness, Journaling, etc.
  • REJOICE: Better Understanding/Acknowledgement of Acceptance, Forgiveness, Maintaining Your Pet’s Memories through Time, Considering Foster/Adoption of a New Pet, Building a Life Alongside Long Term Grief.
Counseling Services

Your special PAWS Pathway will be unique only to your friendship with your pet, a special bond that only you two share full of love, comfort, and peace.



I am here to help you start this path and take the first of many steps toward inner peace and contentment, while continuing to celebrate your loved one. I will guide, counsel, and encourage you through each moment of reflection and understanding. I am truly honored to support you all and have been on my own PAWS pathway journey as well.

Please contact me to learn more and start your journey of PAWS Pathway through Individual Counseling Sessions, Support Groups, Remembrance Ceremonies, and Special Personalized Retreats to Honor Your Pets.


  • Individual Sessions (Phone Consult): $65.00 - 1 hour.
  • Individual Sessions (Virtual Session): $75.00 for 1 hour.
  • Support Groups (2 Hour Sessions): Maximum number of people is 10 per group. Virtual Sessions due to COVID.
  • Multiple Types of Support Groups will be Available.
  • Types of Support Groups Available consist of: Anticipatory Pet Loss/Quality of Life, Pet Loss (Recent - within 1 year), Pet Loss (Long-Term - within 2+ years). Please bring a picture of your pet.
  • Payment due through Venmo or PayPal.
  • PAWS Pathway Retreats: check calendar for details.

Schedule A Session


We Also Accept Venmo and Paypal

Venmo QR


In Person Events

Spring, 2024

Please stay tuned for some upcoming in-person events and sessions during Spring 2024!

Virtual Pet Loss Support Groups

Spring, 2024

Understanding Quality of Life/Anticipatory Grief: March 16 (Sat) from 6-8pm PST

Pet Loss Support Group: March 23 (Sat) from 6-8pm PSTT

Note: Please email Anna at to sign up for either pet loss support groups. Support Groups are free of charge. Space is limited to 10 people total per group.

Speaking at the ICCFA University: Pet loss and Integration Short Course

July 2024

I have some exciting news for PAWS Pathway! I will be speaking at the ICCFA University during July 19-21

Register Here!

Previous Conferences and Speaking Events

  • NFDA International Convention & Expo (September 10-13, 2023) in Las Vegas, NV
  • ICCFA 2023 Annual Convention & Exposition in Kansas City, MO (May 16-19, 2023)
  • University of Tennessee 7th International Vet Social Work Summit (October 14-16, 2022)
  • Best Friends National Conference in Raleigh, NC (July 6-9, 2022)

About Me

Anna McClain

Anna McClain
Hello, I am Anna McClain and I am a certified Pet Loss Grief Support Specialist.

Hello, I am Anna McClain and I am a certified Pet Loss Grief Support Specialist. I was born and raised in Orange, CA and have always treasured animals my whole life. No words can describe the true beauty, blissful joy, and endearing love they bring to our lives daily. I have been so honored to have many amazing animals in my life and also love working with them in the Veterinary field (as an Assistant/Technician).

I graduated with a BA in Sociology from Cal State Fullerton University in 2006 and have been certified as a Pet Loss Grief Support Specialist since 2015. I am also very involved with Best Friends Animal Society and recently married my high school sweetheart of 20 years, Stephan, there in 2019! We have three amazing dogs named Endi, Jenny, and Charlie and would love to have many more animals in our future.

Hello, I am Anna McClain and I am a certified Pet Loss Grief Support Specialist.

My heart has personally led me to create PAWS Pathway when my very best friend, Alfie, a beautiful 5 pound Chocolate Poodle, sadly passed away in 2016. Alfie was my joy, my world, and my angel puppy who inspired me, taught me, and showed me the beautiful, special friendship shared between people and animals. He was the happiest, most joyful doggie and passed away unexpectedly during a liver biopsy surgery with me by his side.
Losing Alfie has taught me the deep devastation of pet loss, and while I feel him with me every day through my own PAWS Pathway journey, experiencing his loss was deeply traumatic and heartbreaking. He has opened my world and helped inspire PAWS Pathway and learning to guide others peacefully through pet loss .

Anna McClain, PGSS-C

I wish I could give you all the right words of comfort and peace when preparing and encountering pet loss, but there are truly no words to describe this pain, sorrow, emptiness, and deep grief you will encounter. You are never alone along this path, and whether your pet has passed away days, months, or years ago, I am here to help support you.

I hope these words have helped you to feel more comforted and at ease.

I would love to help you and am always here to talk.

Anna McClain, PGSS-C



I write for Dogster, Best Friends, Animal Wellness, and MN Pets


PAWS Pathway is proudly a member of the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, setting top standards that honor hospice, palliative care, and euthanasia service for animals, along with pet loss support for people.

Contact Us

Contact Anna McClain, PGSS-C by phone at:

(951) 744-0620