How to Help Someone Who Has Lost a Pet
Losing a pet is traumatic. For many it can be emotionally crippling and devastating. I remember when my dog Apple passed away. She was my everything. There were people who were super supportive about it and then there were others who just couldn’t conceptualize that I would be in such pain over “just a dog”. No offense taken, they just didn’t know how to help someone who has lost a pet.
Not everyone understands the bond between a human and their pet. Especially if they have never experienced that bond themselves. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be helpful and supportive.
Here are some ways you can support someone who is grieving the loss of their pet
#1 – Listen
When we see someone we love hurting, we want to jump in and do what we can to help them feel better, asap. And this can come out by us offering suggestions, talking about how we would handle things and/or discussing our own stories of loss. While the intention is good, this is probably the best time to listen more than talk.
Let them talk as much about their beloved pet as they want. For many, sharing the stories of the wonderful reasons why their pet brought joy into their life can be deeply healing.
#2 – Send a Card
Even though it’s losing its popularity, go out of your way to pick up a physical sympathy card. Slap a stamp on it and send it snail mail. It is still one of the most thoughtful acts out there. Not too expensive but a huge statement of love.
#3 – Donate in the Name of the Pet
The person who lost the pet most likely doesn’t want to jump right back into owning another pet. They will need time to heal and mourn the loss of their beloved friend. But a symbolic gesture of supporting another pet or animal of some type is a wonderful way to say you care. It’s a more expensive act than a sympathy card but a really great way to say you understand their love for animals.
#4 – Let Them Know You Are There if They Need You
Some people are more quiet about their grieving process. And this is completely okay and should be respected. If this is the case, then telling stories of their deceased pet isn’t something that will help them. Keep it simple and let them know you are there when they do want to talk. That your door is open, your phone is on, and you’re there when they need you.
Losing a pet is so difficult. Time does heal, but one never forgets. The loss felt is equal to the depth of love we felt when they were alive. Knowing that, and being there for them when they need it, is all that can be done. Your simple act of compassion will lighten the burden on their heart.