For many people, losing a beloved pet can be harder than losing a friend or family member in death.
After all, our dogs, cats, and other animals aren’t just “pets.” They’re part of our family. And while there are many social norms surrounding the death of another human, we’re often at a loss when someone is grieving the death of a pet.
Are you wondering what to say to someone who lost a pet to help them cope with their grief? In this post, we’ll offer practical advice on how to console someone who lost a pet.
1. Use the Pet’s Name
Regardless of how you personally felt about the animal, it wasn’t just “a pet” to your friend. Buddy, Chloe, Jack, or Daisy was a member of their family, and the loss they’re feeling is very real.
Whether you’re offering consolations in person or in a card, be sure to acknowledge their pet’s name. “I’m so sorry to hear about Buddy” or “You gave Daisy a wonderful life” shows respect for the relationship they shared with their pet.
If appropriate, share your favorite memory or photo of their pet and assure your friend that you’ll miss them too.
2. Listen With Empathy
Be ready to listen if your friend wants to talk. Even if they start crying or their ramblings don’t make sense, listen patiently and don’t interrupt.
It’s okay if you can’t think of anything to say. Your friend will likely feel better after unloading their emotions, so don’t feel like you need to find the perfect words to say in response.
A word of caution: Resist the urge to share your own experience of losing a pet. Grief is not a competition. And although you mean well, it might seem like you’re belittling their pain.
3. Send a Card or Gift
Sending a sympathy card and flowers is never a bad idea. If you have a hard time finding the right words in person, you might be able to better express yourself in writing.
If you want to go beyond a basic card, there are many pet sympathy gifts you might consider. A personalized photo frame, memorial stone, or pawprint necklace is sure to become a treasured gift.
Other ideas include planting a tree in the pet’s name or making a donation to a local animal shelter.
4. Offer Practical Assistance
Without being pushy, find out if there’s anything you can do around the house to help your friends while they grieve.
Could you assist them with cleaning, shopping, or mowing the lawn? Do they want moral support while they put away the pet’s bowls, leash, toys, and other belongings? Ask what they’d like you to do and follow their lead.
Did they have a nearby park or lake where they often took their pet? Perhaps you could organize a small memorial service there (or online) to honor their pet’s memory and help them find closure.
How to Console Someone Who Lost a Pet: Use These Ideas
It’s not easy to know what to say when someone loses a pet.
The next time you find yourself in this situation, refer back to this guide for practical ideas. Your grieving friend is sure to appreciate your kind words and actions!
Now that you know how to console someone who lost a pet, what’s next? Keep browsing our site for more lifestyle tips and advice.