Veterinary social work is a specialization which focuses on attending to the human needs at the intersection of veterinary and social work practice. Utilizing a strengths perspective and evidence-based practices, it includes four key areas: compassion fatigue and conflict management, the link between human violence and animal abuse, animal-assisted interventions (therapy and service animals), and animal-related grief and loss. Veterinary social work is a growing field and social workers are being called upon to work in settings where animals and people are in relationship with one another and in need of supportive services (e.g., veterinary clinics, animal shelters, domestic violence facilities, schools, human health care agencies).

I have received post-graduate training in veterinary social work through the University of Tennessee School of Social Work and Veterinary Medicine. As a veterinary social worker, I provide contractual social work services four days/week to Summit Veterinary Referral Center in Tacoma, WA. Summit Veterinary Referral Center is a large specialty and emergency hospital comprised of 180 staff members with integrated and specialized care in the areas of: Emergency/Critical Care, Oncology, Neurology, Cardiology, Surgery, Internal Medicine and Ophthalmology. For more information on Summit, please visit:

I offer the following Veterinary Social Work services: 

For Clients -

  • Pet loss support and counseling (caregiver support, anticipatory loss, grief and bereavement)

  • Assisting and supporting you with making and processing difficult treatment and care decisions

  • Support during your pet's palliative and hospice care

For Veterinary Staff  and Animal Care Professionals: 

  • Compassion Fatigue prevention, intervention and management

  • Support, debriefing and counseling sessions

  • Psychoeducational presentations and seminars on: grief and loss, stress management, coping skills, self-care strategies, communication, conflict resolution and other relevant topics within the intersection of veterinary medicine and mental health

For Masters-Level Social Work Students - 

  • Internship and Practicum opportunities are available with me at Summit Veterinary Referral Center for masters-level social work students.

  • Please note: It is required that students be working closely with a university with a school contact and have liability insurance provided through their program. Please contact me directly at Summit Veterinary Referral Center to inquire further and receive information on the requirements: or 253.983.1114. For more information on our veterinary social work team and services, please visit:

Please contact me for questions or more information on services offered. 

Click here for my interview with University of Tennessee about my work at Summit Veterinary Referral Center: 

For more information on the field of veterinary social work please visit University of Tennessee's Veterinary Social Work program site (Colleges of Social Work and Veterinary Medicine):

The following is an article by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) about the growing field of veterinary social work:

Rachel and her beloved Mia. Mia is Rachel’s inspiration for becoming a veterinary social worker.