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NYer Of The Week: Social Worker Helps Pet Owners Deal With Loss, Finds Homes For Strays

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A Brooklyn woman provides comfort to pets and owners alike through counseling and adoptions. NY1’s Grace Rauh filed the following report.

Kittens that are up for adoption at the Hope Veterinary Clinic will give their owners years of companionship, but at some point, those owners will have to deal with losing them.

That's where Juliet Sternberg comes in. She's a social worker who does grief counseling for pet owners.

“It's a loss that can bring up so many other things. The decade and a half that they have spent with this animal has often been quite tumultuous, or it raises everything that has gone on in that whole time,” says Sternberg.

Sternberg teamed up with the clinic 10 years ago and now provides free grief counseling to clients.

“Grief counseling that Juliet provides was invaluable to us, and in a difficult moment, that made things much easier on us,” says Damon Dyer of Brooklyn Heights.

Six years ago, Sternberg also started the not-for-profit organization Infinite Hope, which raises money to take in strays, like four kittens that she says were recently dropped off in a bag at the clinic.

Sternberg hopes to get them adopted when they’re ready, along with a dozen other strays she keeps at the clinic and 15 in foster care.

“Every time she says yes to someone who's dumping an animal because they found one in Prospect Park, it’s hundreds of dollars,” says Basia Zamorska, an Infinite Hope volunteer.

It’s about $500, to be exact, for vaccinations, food, and spaying and neutering, all paid for through fundraising and donations.

Sternberg never turns any away, and Infinite Hope has found homes for some 600 strays.

For helping people deal with the loss of a pet and finding homes for many more, Juliet Sternberg is the latest New Yorker of the week.

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