In 1998, a chance encounter with a pet parent facing the death of her pet was a defining moment for Coleen. It was the beginning of her vision of how to best meet the needs of pet parents in their desire to mourn, memorialize and pay tribute to their beloved pets when they die. In 2004, the experience of the death of her dog, Mico, guided her in starting Pet Angel Memorial Center, Inc.®, the nation’s first stand-alone pet’s-only funeral home. Soon, publications such as Kates-Boylston’sPet Loss Insider deemed her the “most well known pet funeral director” and a true “pet loss pioneer.”
In 2009, Coleen founded Two Hearts Pet Loss Center, to guide people who wish to provide meaningful pet death care services in their communities, as well to be an educational resource in the pet grief discipline. Most recently, she received the first Death and Grief Studies Certification specializing in Pet Loss Companioning by Dr. Alan Wolfelt as well as releasing her first book, Pet Parents: A Journey Through Unconditional Love and Grief. She is also Certified in Thanatology and is a Certified Pet Loss Professional.
Coleen is a sought-after speaker on the topics of pet loss and grief. Through her delivery style, pet care professionals learn a variety of techniques immediately applicable to implement on how to companion families in their grief journey. Furthermore, her talks to pet parents give them the permission they need to not only grieve but mourn the loss of their beloved pet.
Coleen is currently the co-chair and founder of the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance and president of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care. She is a native of Kansas where she graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing . She shares her home in Indianapolis, IN, with her husband and business partner, Chris Burke, and their four four-legged children, Ellie Mae, Crisco, Harry and Rudy.