I love my cats like more than I can say. They have been with me since I was a teenager. They were around before I met my husband, they were with me through my hardest times, through my happiest times and have now bonded with my children. They are a very true member of our family and most pet owners will say the same about their animal-members.
When our pets die, it is a very real grief — with many saying it’s just as losing any human-member of their family. Pet owners may not understand, but if your friend experiences the death of their pet — there are some ways that you can help (and ways you may be hurting without knowing).
Click through for some tips on how to help a friend when their pet dies:
1) Don’t minimize their loss: The loss of a pet is a very real grief — they were a very cherished member of the family. Be mindful of what you say and don’t belittle their feelings my telling them to “get another dog” or saying things like “it was just a cat”.
2) Encourage your friend to express their grief: Let your friend know that you are there for them and they can talk to you. Some may hesitate thinking they will get made fun of (see above), but talking through your feelings can be very healing. Encourage your friend to talk about their pet and share fun stories as well.
3) Show you care: Send some flowers, donate money to a shelter in the pet’s honor or attending a burial if they will be holding one are all ways you can let your friend know that you care and you are available for them.
4) Connect them with support: If your friend is having a difficult time or you just want to try and do something to help, connect them with some resources. Point them to some books on grieving (in general or specific to pets) or call around to the veterinarians or shelters in the area to see if they can offer any resources.
When in doubt, the best thing to do for anyone grieving the loss of a pet is to offer your condolences. A simple “I am sorry” can go a long way.
Photo credit: iStockPhoto
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