Hand holding white paw

Honor the enduring bonds between clients and their companions.

Companion Animal End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate

Take a deep journey into end-of-life care for pets and companion animals.

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Program Snapshot

How Often

Start dates every spring, summer, and fall


$895 for the 6-week Certificate
$300 for the 2-week, Alumni Certificate

Learning Format


Online Learning Type



6 weeks or 2 weeks

Time Commitment

7-10 hrs./wk.


Professional Certificate

VA Benefit Eligible







6-week=6 CEUs / 2-week=2 CEUs



Additional Details

Summer course date: June 19 – July 30, 2024
Summer for Alumni course date: May 22 – June 4, 2024


Many people consider their pets members of the family. When a beloved dog, cat, horse, or other companion animal is nearing end-of-life, the stress of decision-making coupled with the demands of caregiving can easily become overwhelming. Enter the End-of-Life Doula specializing in end of life pet care for companion animals.

What sets UVM apart

Join a Supportive Community

Be part of a supportive, tight-knit community of practicing doulas.

Learn Best Practices

Continue practical education with alumni workshops and monthly events for UVM end-of-life doula alumni.

Expand Your Network

UVM end-of-life doula alumni are affiliated with the Osher Center for Integrative Health at UVM.


Who is this course for?

  • Aspiring doulas for companion animals
  • End-of-life care practitioners who would like further specialization in companion animals
  • Pet hospice and palliative care workers/volunteers
  • Veterinary Technicians
  • Pet care takers, such as dog walkers and pet sitters
  • Spiritual care providers
  • Pet owners


Two tracks are available for this program:

  • For alumni of UVM’s End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate, you have the option to take the 6-week professional certificate knowing the first two weeks are a review from your certificate training or a 2-week specialization for EoLD alumni focusing on companion animal end-of-life care.
  • If you are not an End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate alumni, you must take the 6-week end of life pet care program to acquire skills related to doula essentials and compassionate care.

“When I saw UVM’s companion animal end-of-life doula program, it was the perfect marriage of my interests. I wanted to learn more about how cultures react to the death of both humans and animals but also through that knowledge, I could be useful for others and in my own experiences as a dog owner.”

Emily Wills, Program Alumnae 

Schedule of Sessions

Companion Animal End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate for Alumni

SessionDatesRegistration Deadline
Spring Session03/20/24 – 4/02/2403/13/24
Summer Session05/22/24 – 06/4/2405/15/24
* This course is for alumni of UVM’s End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate. If you have not taken the Certificate, please see the 6-week Companion Animal End-of-Life Doula course.

Companion Animal End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate

SessionDatesRegistration Deadline
Spring Session01/31/24 – 02/27/2401/24/24
Summer Session06/19/24 – 07/30/2406/12/24
*Optional orientation is offered the week before the program starts and it takes approximately one hour to complete.
*The summer 2024 session is the inaugural session in a change from a 4-week program to a 6-week program

Course descriptions


An optional, asynchronous, self-paced orientation will open one week prior to the course starting to familiarize students with Brightspace. This is 100% optional and will take approximately 1 hour to complete. 

The course includes six online modules:

  • Week 1: Doula Care and the Human-Animal Bond
  • Week 2: Hospice and Palliative Care
  • Week 3: Preparing for Death
  • Week 4: Self-Care and Grief Support
  • Week 5: Complexities of Grief
  • Week 6: After Death Care and Memorialization

Technology Requirements

Please note that Brightspace works best with a desktop or laptop computer. There is limited functionality when accessed by a phone or tablet (e.g., iPads). Please make sure you have access to a desktop and/or laptop computer for the duration of the class.

“I believe it’s an important aspect for veterinary technicians and veterinary receptionists to understand the role of a doula because they are on the front lines of many practices. They’re talking to clients about their emotions and loss. I could see how this class could help all of those in the veterinary profession.”

Ken Gorczyca, Program Alumni and Instructor

Student Stories

“I am very grateful to have found and done this course. The instructor and facilitator modeled the right kind of behavior and approach which was helpful in applying the theories of doulaship. I also think the course just made me an overall better person!”

Leslie Harris, Program Alumnae
Companion Animal Doula Alumni Emily Wills Talks About Learning Opportunities


Program Lead & Instructors

Featured Presenters & Contributors


UVM Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Scholarship

The scholarship for Fall 2024 has closed. Information about the Spring/Summer 2025 Scholarship will be available in August.

The End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate program supports the development and entry into the Doula profession of more individuals who, by their background, work, studies, and/or service endeavors, increase, support and demonstrate commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.  

The goal of this scholarship is to broaden the reach of doulas and aspiring doulas to provide culturally-affirming EOL care within more communities. The scholarship covers the entire cost of the End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate course of your choice.

  • End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate
  • Companion Animal End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate (6-week course)
  • Companion Animal End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate for Alumni (2-week course for End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate graduates)

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA – must meet all three:

  • Financial need – you must certify that you have income at or below 300% of the federal poverty guidelines (FPG) by household size. Please refer to the table below to check your financial eligibility (for audit purposes, UVM reserves the right to request additional information to verify income. Please refer to the table below for federal poverty guidelines)
  • An Individual who, by their background or through their work, studies, and/or service endeavors, increases or supports diversity, equity and inclusion
  • A commitment to furthering social justice through End-of-Life or Companion Animal doula work.

At this time, the scholarship is only open to current US residents.

Persons in family/householdAnnual Household Income (300% of the federal poverty guidelines)
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $14,160 for each additional person


Two tracks are available for this program:

  • If you are an End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate alumni, you have the option to take the 6-week course or you may take the 2-week alumni course specialization focusing on companion animal end-of-life care.
  • If you are not an End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate alumni, you must take the 6-week program to acquire skills related to doula essentials and compassionate care.

The 6-week certificate course costs $895. The alumni 2-week course costs $300. A scholarship is available via the application information above. Learn about additional options for discounts, grants, loans, scholarships, and more on our tuition and financial aid page.

Yes. Students will need to purchase Cultivating the Doula Heart: Essentials of Compassionate Care by Francesca Lynn Arnoldy. While not required, students are also encouraged to purchase The Pet Loss Companion: Healing Advice from Family Therapists Who Lead Pet Loss Groups by Ken Dolan-Kel and Nancy Saxton Lopez. Copies of both books can be purchased online.

No. Non-credit courses do not currently qualify for tuition remission.

No, we do not have payment plans, you must pay in full by credit card when you register.

If you need to cancel your attendance, you must notify us via email at learn@uvm.edu or call us at (802) 656-2085 at least three business days prior to the start date of the course to receive a full refund, less a $25 cancellation fee. If a medical condition necessitates cancellation/withdrawal (documentation provided), this will be reviewed by our Studies Committee for any type of refund.

End-of-Life Doulas specializing in animal companion care complement the work provided by palliative and hospice care for pets provided by veterinarians. Doulas support animals and their owners with compassionate care in a number of ways, including emotional and informational support during this difficult time.

There is no specific coursework required for this certificate. Primarily, we want you to have a deep commitment to providing compassionate care for animals who are dying.

Upon successful completion of this course, learners will have the skillset and mindset to offer doula services to families and owners who are experiencing end-of-life care for their companion animals. For individuals offering end-of-life doula care for humans, these new skills will nicely complement the work they are already doing and they will be able offer additional services to clients surrounding companion animals. Individuals already working in the pet care industry will be equipped with the skills to better support clients during end-of-life care of their beloved pets.

You will be assessed on your participation in the discussion boards, completion of assignments, and comprehension of the course material. In order to receive an electronic Certificate of Completion, students must receive a 70% or better in the course. Because this is a non-credit professional program, there is no transcript.

  1. Log in to your Credly account and locate the badge you’d like the certificate for on your Credly Dashboard.
  2. Click into the badge and select “Share” at the top of the page. Here you’ll notice several share options.
  3. Select the tab with the “printer” icon and select “Download PDF.”
  4. You can choose to print the downloaded PDF for a printable copy of your certificate.
Yes, each cohort holds three optional live sessions on Zoom that are open to instructors and students from all sections of the current cohort. These conversations are facilitated by our program lead, Frances Pope.
  • Session 1: The Role and Scope of an End-of-Life Doula
  • Session 2: Self-Care
  • Session 3: Ask a Doula
The optional, ungraded live sessions are not recorded in an effort to foster open and honest communication and to maintain confidentiality. Dates and times are announced at the beginning of each cohort. Please reach out to the program team if you have any questions about these sessions.

Students spend about 7 to 10 hours per week on the coursework. Optional orientation is offered the week before the program starts and it takes approximately one hour to complete.

Yes. Our certificate is 100% online. Please note that class materials are in English.

We recommend using a browser other than Internet Explorer with our Brightspace online learning system. Firefox, Google Chrome, or other browsers tend to work more effectively with Brightspace. It’s very important to note that Brightspace will only work with a desktop or laptop computer. It is not designed to be used with phones or tablets (e.g., iPads), so please make sure you have access to a desktop and/or laptop computer for the duration of the class.

If you are a non-credit student seeking accessibility support, please email access@uvm.edu and the UVM Student Accessibility Services team will be able to assist. In your email, please include that you do not have a 95 number/NetID.