Anyone who has lost a pet knows the pain is very real, and in that moment there is nothing that can take away the sadness. Animals bring so much joy into our lives, and for many, pets are considered family members.
The most important thing to remember is to be sensitive and understanding of someone’s loss.
The passing of a pet leaves a huge void, and their absence can be just as traumatic as a loss of a human family member.
The best words to provide are those of sympathy and support. If you are struggling with what to say, start with listening. There is a great deal of information you can gather by listening to how someone is feeling, and if you sense that kind words could be helpful, share positive memories that you have of their pet. Quality is better than quantity. You don’t have to say much to convey compassion and sensitivity.
If you notice that the individual who lost a pet is struggling to manage with the loss, offer to help. Ask what you can do to support them. Sometimes clearing out toys and bedding can be difficult, and having a supportive person there can go a long way toward healing.
If you struggle to come up with comforting words in the moment, writing a sympathy card is also a great way to convey concern and care.
It is also important to remember that what to say, is just as important as what not to say. To many people pets are family, so saying things like “get over it” or “it’s just a dog” or “you’re better off” or “just get another dog” come across as hurtful and insensitive.