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What to Do When Someone Loses a Pet

If you've ever lost a pet, you know how difficult it can be. If you haven't lost a pet before, you may not be sure what to do when someone loses a pet and may be unsure of the amount of grief they're experiencing. The loss of a furry friend is never easy, but there are ways to make the process a little easier for a friend or loved one. Here are some tips on what to do when someone loses a pet.

What to say when someone loses a pet

One of the most important things you can do when someone loses a pet is to simply be there for them during their time of need. This can often show up in the form of you offering your presence or time to them as a support system, reaffirming your care for their feelings and knowledge of how difficult the situation they're currently in is. Here are some ways to phrase that, and other things to say when someone loses a pet:

  • "I'm so sorry for the loss of [your dog/your pet/(their name)]."
  • "I’d like to help you [suggest activity or chore you can take over]. Please let me know a good time to swing by and do that."
  • "I know how much you loved your pet, and I'm here for you."
  • "I’d like to take you out on a walk to get some fresh air and to hear more about [Name]’s life. Let me know a good time to come by."
  • "Do you want to talk about what happened?"
  • "I'm always here if you need to talk."

What to say in a card when a pet dies

If you're having trouble finding the right words, sometimes it can help to look up pet loss quotes or pet sympathy quotes to find something that resonates with you. You can also send or stop by with a pet sympathy card to express your condolences. If you're not sure what to say in a pet sympathy card, here are some starting points:

Bring up a specific trait you loved or knew they loved about their pet.

"Your pet was always so excited to see me when I came over, and I'm going to miss that."
"I know how much you loved walks together, and I'm sorry you won't be able to do that anymore."
“[Name] was always such a cuddlebug and getting to petsit for you always made my week. [He/She] will be so missed.”

Share a memory you have of their pet.

"I'll never forget the time when..."
"I always think about the time when..."
"I remember how much fun we had when..."

Validate their feelings.

"It's totally natural for you to feel so sad right now. [He/She] meant so much to you."
"It's okay to not be okay."
"I'm here for you, no matter what you're feeling."

End with a supportive statement.

"If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know."
"I'll be thinking of you."
"I'm thinking of you during this difficult time."
"I'm always here if you need to talk."

If the person you're talking to is struggling to cope with the loss of a pet, there are a few things you can do to help them. First, try to be as understanding and patient as possible. It's important to give them time to grieve in their own way and at their own pace. Secondly, offer to help out with anything they might need, whether that's taking care of their other animals, helping them get outside, listening to them grieve through the loss, or just being there for a shoulder to cry on. Finally, be sure to check in on them every now and then to see how they're doing, and let them know that you're still there for them.

Things to avoid saying when someone's pet dies

There are a few things you should avoid saying when someone's pet dies. First, don't say anything that might downplay the loss. For example, don't say "it's just a dog" or "he was old anyway". Second, don't make any promises you can't keep. For example, if you'd like to express sympathy or your support by offering to watch their other pets for some time, make sure you follow through on your promise. And finally, don't tell them it was "meant to be" or that "everything happens for a reason". These phrases are often said as a way to alleviate pain in someone mourning a loss but often come across as trite or dismissive of someone's pain.

Gift ideas for someone who lost a pet

The best gift you can give someone who has lost a pet is your time and support. However, if you're looking for something more, here are some ideas:

  • An online memorial website for their pet.
  • A commemorative memorial item such as a plaque, garden stone, or piece of jewelry with their pet's name and/or paw print.
  • A donation to a pet rescue in their pet's name.
  • A photo album or frame with a picture of their pet.
  • A comfort food item like the person’s favorite candy or baked goods.
  • A sympathy card with a handwritten note expressing your condolences.

While these pet condolence gifts can help you express your sympathy, sometimes a person just wants to know that their pain and grief is witnessed and that they're not alone in grieving the loss of their companion. Offering your time, attentiveness and compassion can go a long way in helping someone deal with the loss of a pet.

If you know someone who has lost a pet and are trying to support them, consider creating an online pet memorial to honor their furry friend. Ever Loved’s pet memorial websites are free, easy to use and easy to set up. Simply upload a few photos, provide some basic information about the pet who has passed, and share it with your friend or family member who has lost the pet. It’ll be a permanent online memorial to their friendly companion.

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Last updated August 1, 2022
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