7 Ways to Help a Friend Grieving the Loss of a Pet
When a friend or family member loses their beloved pet, it can be hard to know what to say. Even if you haven’t personally gone through the loss of a pet, you can empathize with them, but that doesn’t always mean you know the best way to help them cope with their grief.
Below, we’ve rounded up 7 tips to help you be a supportive resource when your friend or family member is coping with the loss of a furry friend.
1. Validate Their Feelings
One of the easiest and most supportive things you can do is to let them know that what they’re thinking or feeling is okay and normal. Losing a pet is a difficult experience and working through their grief is an important step in processing the loss. Remind them of this to help them feel supported.
2. Give Them Space, but Continue to Check In
Everyone processes grief differently, and your friend might not feel like being social in the days after the loss of their pet. Give them time and space to grieve, but check in every few days to let them know you’re thinking of them. You can also let them know that when they’re ready to talk or socialize, you’ll be there for them.
3. Listen to Them
When you don’t know what to say, sometimes the best thing you can do is simply listen. When your friend is ready to talk about their pet, lend a sympathetic ear, without comparing their loss to your own experience or trying to lessen its impact. While your intentions might be good by offering platitudes about their pet being in a better place, it’s often not what someone wants to hear in the fresh moments of grief.
4. Get Something That Memorializes Their Pet
If you want to show your friend that you’re thinking about them during their time of loss, consider giving them a gift that memorializes their pet. Some of our favorite pet memorial gifts include:
A small token like this can go a long way in letting your friend know how much you care.
5. Make a Donation in Their Pet’s Memory
If you’d rather not give them a physical gift, another way to show your support is by making a donation to an animal-related organization in their pet’s name. For example, if they’ve lost a beloved cat, you might make a donation to a local cat rescue organization. As an animal lover, they’ll appreciate that you’re doing something to help other animals in memory of their pet.
6. Share Your Favorite Memories of Their Pet
When you think of your friend’s pet, do you have a special memory that comes to mind? If so, they would probably love to hear you share it. When people are dealing with a loss, they want to know that their pet won’t be forgotten, and hearing you talk fondly about their pet can mean a lot to them. Likewise, if you’ve taken any photos of their pet in the past, you can share them with your friend.
7. Remind Them That They Gave Their Pet a Great Life
When you have to make the difficult decision to euthanize a pet, it’s common to think about things you could have done differently. Help offer words of support by reminding your friend that they gave their pet the best possible life and always made decisions in their pet’s best interests.
Here to Help During the Loss of a Pet
When your friend is struggling with the loss of a pet, remind them that they’re not alone. Encourage them to reach out to their local Pet Passages office for bereavement support resources as they navigate their grief.