Meet the Expert
A chance encounter with a pet parent facing the death of her pet was a defining moment for Coleen in 1998. 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 2003, the experience of the death of her dog, Mico, guided her in starting the nation’s first stand-alone pet’s-only funeral home, Pet Angel Memorial Center. Soon, publications such as Kates-Boylston’s Pet 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. In 2009, 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. Her second book co-authored with colleague Dr. Mary Gardner, Forever Friend, released in 2022. She is Certified in Thanatology and is a Certified Pet Loss Professional.
By 2014, Coleen was ready to take her vision to a new level. She was a co-founder of The Pet Loss Center and assisted the company in opening pet loss operations across the United States, with this operation being acquired by a national acquisition company in 2020. Coleen is an internationally 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 the founder and past co-chair of the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance. She currently serves as the Executive Director as well as a past 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 currently sits on the Board of Trustees for Fort Hays State University and was a recipient of the 2018 Alumni Achievement Award, the college’s highest recognition for graduates. She also currently sits on the Board of Trustees Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.
Dallas, TX, is where Coleen and her husband, Chris Burke, reside. They share their home with their four-legged kids, Beulah & Albert.