Losing a pet is always tragic for pet owners. If any of your friends have suffered such a loss, then you need to step up and help them in their grieving process. As a friend, it is your moral duty tosupport your friend during an emotional time. Pet owners have a very special bond with their pets; the stronger the bond, the more intense the feeling of loss. Pets become such an integral part of their lives that when they are gone, they leave a massive void behind for their owners.
If you are a pet owner, you will be able to quickly understand what they are going through and be in a better position to help them. If you are not a pet owner, you first need to understand the gravity of their loss. Pets are as close as children are to them, so their grief would be intense. Once you have established that, you will be in a better position to comfort them as a friend. This article helps you understand their emotions and guides you on how you can help them in such a tragedy.
How To Comfort A Friend Whose Pet Died
The first few hours or days are important in the grieving process. As a friend, you need to become a pillar of support for your friend who is suffering the loss. The pet's death comes as a shock to the owners, and you should help them handle this shock. Your first reaction is also important, as what you say and do may instantly affect them in such a shock condition.
What Should You Say When Your Friend Loses Their Pet?
You need to choose your words wisely when you are comforting your friend. Depending on your proximity to them, you can convey your feelings. It is best if you can do this in person, or else you can give them a call, leave a message or even send in a postcard using one of the following lines:
- "I am really sorry for your loss. Please let me know if I can be of any help."
- "Your pet was really adorable, and we have had such good memories."
- "My condolences for your loss. Your pet was such a great companion to you."
- "Just found out about your loss. My deepest condolonces. I hope the family and the kids are alright."
- "So sorry for the untimely loss of your pet. It made your world really lively and fun."
What Should You Not Say When Your Friend Loses Their Pet?
Not using the right words can also trigger wrong emotions in grieving pet owners. You need to remember the special bond they shared and that they will take time to overcome the loss. Whatever you do, do not use any of the following lines:
- "Time will heal everything, and you will get over this soon."
- "Your pet was fun, and now it is in a much better place."
- "It was just a dog/cat! You can always get another one."
- "I know you are sad; why don't you come over for a few drinks to forget about it."
- "Really sorry for the loss. When can we get you a new pet?"
Hopefully, you get the message through the above lines about what are the things you should not say. Do not say generic things like time heals and such philosophy. It does not help. At the same time, do not make the grave mistake of thinking the pet was just a toy for the owner, and you can get another one from the shop. You will be doing more damage than helping them by saying such things. Choose your comforting words wisely and make sure that they are supportive.
How To Help A Friend Overcome The Loss Of A Pet?
The grieving process of each pet owner is individualistic. Some take a few days, while some take a few months to get over the loss. This process depends on many factors like the pet's proximity, age, demography, emotional well-being and other lifestyle dynamics. As a friend, you can do the following to help your friend overcome the loss of their pet:
1. Create A Space For Them To Grieve
The first thing you need to do as a friend is to give them the time and space to grieve. Encourage them to express their angst, sorrow or whatever they are feeling. Next, have conversations with them about their pet. Make sure you take the pet's name and do not avoid talking about it. Recollect fond memories and stories about the pet and share them with each other. All pet owners will take their own time, so do not rush them to overcome the loss. Instead, make them feel you are there to support them no matter how much time they want.
2. Take Care Of Their Health
Many times during the grieving process, pet owners change their daily routines. Loss of appetite is a common symptom when you suffer a loss, whether pets or humans. As a friend, make sure that they are eating well. If they are on any medication, ensure they take it on time. Generally, the physical activity of owners is mainly dependent on the pets as they take them out for walks and other activities. With the pet gone, there will be a sudden drop in these activities, which can adversely affect their health. Hence push them for physical exercise, be it jogging or joining a gym.
3. Take Them For Outdoor Activities
The best way to take our minds off something tragic is to get involved in some other activity. This method works for grieving pet owners as well. You can plan outdoor activities for them, be it hanging out with your gang of friends, movies, plays or even a good sport. Try to keep them as busy as possible as there are good chances that if they are left alone at home, they will start feeling lonely without their pet. Push them to join a community or a cause to have activities lined up for their weekend. This step will ensure they have sufficient physical activities and take their mind off the loss.
4. Cook Them A Special Meal
Comfort food always helps to feel better. As a friend would always know what the grieving pet owner would like to eat. Do not ask them, as it is highly likely that they will refuse to eat. Instead, take the initiative and cook them a special meal. This can be their favourite pasta or baking something good. Share the meal with them and take it up as a time to discuss the fond memories you have shared. If you are not good at cooking, do not worry, you can do takeout from their favourite pizzeria or Chinese restaurant or whatever they love to eat.
5. Plan Pet Play Dates
There is a reason why your friends enjoy the company of a pet. Once they have lost the pet, you can help them by providing that joy, even if it is temporary. You can plan out pet play dates. If you are a pet owner, this gets easy as you can have them come over or take your pets to their place. If not, you can figure out other pet owners and push your friend out for a fun-filled evening. This will work wonders for them as they will enjoy those few hours. Also, being in the company of pet owners will give them a more comfortable zone to open up and talk about their loss, as other pet owners will be able to empathize better.
6. Support The Whole Family
If your grieving pet owner friend stays with a family, then you should also ensure that you help the entire family. Keep in mind that kids and senior parents are most affected by the loss and have different coping mechanisms. Kids tend to express emotions ranging from anger and resentment to even guilt or depression. Your friend may not be in the best position to help them, so you can step up and reach out to the kids. Make them understand what has happened in the best way possible and encourage them to grieve the loss. At the same time, senior citizens would express less and keep the pain within themselves. You should also talk to them and ensure they stay healthy and active. If your friend has another pet, it is critical to take care of it. Ensure that the daily routine is not disturbed and that the pet is getting extra affection, as it would also be experiencing loss.
7. Do Not Push Them To Get A New Pet
The last thing you want to do is to push them to get a new pet. You should never do this, so we have kept this point on our list. All grieving pet owners take their own time and have their own process of overcoming the loss of their pet. Going out and getting another pet does not help in this process. Whether you are a pet owner or not, you need to understand that pets create a special place for themselves in the family, nourished by love and care. And it is never easy to replace them. Let your friend come out of the loss, and whenever they are ready, you can support them in getting a new pet.
The above points are just some of the few activities you can do to help your friend. You would always be better positioned to judge and act according to the situation on the ground. You can always lend a hand in assisting them in rearranging their home or removing the pet's things or other such tasks. Try to be sensitive to their needs and cater to them in the best possible way.
What Can You Plan To Give Comfort To A Friend Who Lost Their Pet?
Apart from the points mentioned above, you can help your friend get a sense of closure for the loss of their pet. One way of doing this is planning a memorial service for the pet. Just like we have memorial services for humans, pet owners are known to organize something similar for their pets. You can invite family members and friends as this will give an excellent opportunity to them to offer their condolences in person. Keep the event lively by planning activities; do not let it become gloomy.
The Pet Memorial gifts are another idea that you can implement. Many websites, like Customizeaf, offer a wide range of pet memorial gifts like garden slate, canvas prints, stones and much more. The best part about them is that you can get them customized for your friend. For example, you can select a good photo or series of pictures of the lost pet along with the owners and get it printed on the blanket or a mug or even wearables like T-shirt. Transforming the fond memories of the pet into something physical and tangible will serve as a sweet reminder of the pet and the value of its owner's life.
You can also add the option of charity or community service to the memorial. Pick up whatever cause the owner feels strongly about, and if nothing comes to mind, then you can have a charity for pets. Organize a pet day event where all pets and their owners can come together and celebrate the bond they share. You can convert the sad day into a momentous day which would do proper justice to the pet and its owner.
Friends count on each other in their hour of need. Losing a pet is one such event when you have the opportunity to help your friend heal. Make sure you remain sensitive toward their feelings and create an environment for them to grieve. Encourage them to express their feelings. At the same time, ensure they are taking care of their health and other family members. Spend time with them and take them out for different activities. Please do not push them in the healing process. Instead, be with them as a pillar of support, like a true friend.