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Sympathy Messages for the Loss of a Pet

Updated on June 10, 2017
Blond Logic profile image

Through her articles, Mary offers inspirational advice on issues including relationships, bereavement, and how to live a full life.

Our dog Daisy
Our dog Daisy | Source

Condolence Messages for the Loss of Pets

This past April our dog, Daisy, died. She was an 8-year-old mongrel, with a sweet personality and an annoyingly high-pitched bark. She loved swimming and would sooner swim across a lake rather than walk around it. Daisy was a farm dog and was treated as such. She slept outside and often would sneak over to the old woman who lives across the lake for a cuddle and a bone if she had one.

Although I didn't feel a need to be consoled when she died, the majority of people I know who have pets will need some kind words and acknowledgement of their loss. Her death got me thinking what I would say to people I know whose dogs and cats are more like family to them.

I have put together some sympathy messages which can be used when pets die. These can be tailored as you see fit with the name of the animal and perhaps a few simple words of your own. Whether you chose to send a card, telephone or send them a text message, it can be difficult knowing what to say to ease their sadness.

For some people losing a pet, which has been part of the family for many years, is almost like losing a family member or a well-loved friend. The loss of that pet will leave a hole in their heart and the owner may experience real grief. This shouldn't be pushed aside as nonsense because the pain they feel is real. Although you may not share their passion for animals to the same extent, you'll want to ensure you don't say the wrong thing and jeopardize your friendship at this sensitive time.

dog and cat friends
dog and cat friends | Source

Sympathy Messages for the Loss of Dogs or Cats

Here are a few messages which will work well on a pet sympathy card. Where possible add the pet's name for a personal touch. If you don't know the correct spelling, it is likely they have used it previously on Facebook or other social media channels. Also be sure to get the gender correct if the message includes this. A personal message is always well received and will be kindly remembered.

Let's get started with the condolence messages which you can use or modify for your own situation.

  • I am sorry for your loss. [Insert pet's name here] will be greatly missed.
  • [Insert pet's name here] was such a wonderful [cat/dog/bird], he was lucky to have found a loving family such as yours.
  • No truer word was said when they called a dog, man's best friend. [Insert dog's name] was a special dog. May the fond memories you have, ease the pain of grief at this difficult time.
  • Our pets are like gifts from God, they come into our lives and bring such joy to our lives. We were sorry to hear of your loss and extend our sympathies to you and your family. Your [dog/cat] will be greatly missed by all who knew him/her.
  • Losing a loyal and true friend isn't easy. Please know that I'm thinking of you, and if you need to talk or share memories, please call me.
  • [Insert pet's name] left paw prints of love on everyone who knew him.

Cards for Loss of Pets

If you have a good card shop locally, you may be able to find a suitable pet sympathy card. Some of these may depict and animal which looks similar to the one which recently died. Another option could be a tranquil view of woods, a beach or clouds. If your friend used to take their dog for walks on the beach or in the woods, these would be appropriate. Many cards are left blank for you to write your own message. This is where these simple words of comfort will help you.

Alternatively, if you know the pet is ill, buy the card early. By doing this you can get a card on Zazzle which you can have printed with the animal's name and if you have it, a photo. This will be a lasting memento for your friend whose pet has died.

Death of a Pet
Death of a Pet | Source

More Pet Condolences

  • A devoted friend and beloved pet such as [insert animal's name] will always hold a special place in your heart. Gone but never forgotten.
  • Although others may not understand your grief, I do. Losing a pet such as [pet's name] can leave a hole in your heart and a void in your life. Know that I am thinking of you and offer my condolences.
  • We can't imagine the grief you feel after losing [insert pet's name]. He/she was a lovely [cat/dog] and will be missed.
  • You were a fantastic pet mom and I know your family will be feeling sad at this time. [Insert pet name] was a great [dog/cat] and his memory lives on.
  • I was saddened to hear of the death of [insert animal's name]. No words of sympathy will ease your pain but I wanted you to know, I was thinking of you in your hour of darkness.
  • [Insert pet's name] has been an integral part of your life. Don't be ashamed to feel sadness, he/she was a special friend.

Animal Sympathy Messages for Cards

  • I hope the pain in your heart will be eased by the beautiful memories your have of [insert pet's name]. I'm was sorry to hear of your loss.
  • Although [insert pet's name here] has passed, he will always be beside you in spirit, watching over you.
  • [ Dog name] crossed the rainbow bridge. My condolences are with you and your family at this sad time.
  • Our heartfelt prayers are with you as you come to terms with the loss of [insert pet's name].
  • [insert dog's name here], a ray of sunshine has been taken away. I am thinking of you at this difficult time.
  • The love of a pet will always be remembered.
  • [insert dog's name] was a loyal and faithful friend.
  • Loving thoughts are sent your way, so sorry for the loss.
  • [Dog/cat's name] was such a fun loving and sweet [dog/cat]. His passing has shocked us and I'm sure devastated you. I have such fond memories of him, let's get together soon and catch up on things.

Poem

Four legs,
a big heart,
it was love from the start

Those we love are always close
Especially when we need them most
in our hearts, they'll always be
young, happy and running free
Although they're gone
In our memory, they'll live on.

Lord Byron's epitaph for his dog Boatswain
Lord Byron's epitaph for his dog Boatswain | Source

Lord Byron's Dog Boatswain

If you think that the love of pets is something new, it isn't. I used to live in Nottinghamshire, England and at Newstead Abbey, which is located there, is an epitaph written by Lord Byron (1788-1824) for his dog Boatswain. His dog was a Newfoundland dog and the quote below can be seen on the dog's tomb. Newstead Abbey was the ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron.


"Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
Boatswain, a Dog
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown to Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –
Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who behold perchance this simple urn,
Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one -- and here he lies."


In Conclusion

I hope this article has given you some ideas and guidance to ease the grief for your friend who has recently lost a pet. For some pet owners, it can be a devastating time. Others may choose to get another pet to ease the pain.

Whatever your friend decides to do, try and be supportive of their choices. Everyone handles grief differently.

If you have other sympathy messages you have used or received comfort from, please post them in the comment section for others to see.

Thanks for reading.

What Would You Do?

Do you know someone who would benefit from receiving a sympathy card when their pet dies?

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    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Peggy,

      Our new dog Tess, seems to know her job as a watch dog and walks down to lock up the gate and doesn't back down if people arrive until we tell her it's okay.

      As a pet ages, I think it is easier to cope with their passing. You know they have had a good life and although it is not easy letting go, we can prepare ourselves for the void they leave.

      One of my friends here is hoping to find a puppy to bring it up to speed as both of her dogs are now about 9. She knows they will soon be passing.

      I hope with these few suggestions in my article, people will be able to offer some comfort without sounding condescending or callous.

      Thanks for reading and your comment.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Your Daisy looked like a honey of a dog and I know you miss her. I see from reading the comments that you have given another dog a good home with lots of room to roam.

      It is definitely hard losing beloved pets. We have had to part with them all too often. As diogenes mentioned, their lives are short as compared to ours therefore bringing great happiness when they are gracing us with their presence and great sorrow when they die.

      Right now we have an older dog and an older cat. We can see the handwriting on the wall so-to-speak and are just enjoying each and every day to the fullest with them.

      You have given many good suggestions as to what to say when others lose their pets. Thanks!

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Nell,

      Yes, comments such as, "you can get another dog" or "it was just a dog" aren't helpful and are downright hurtful. Kindness doesn't cost anything and the world would be a better place if people used it more often.

      I am pleased you like Byron's poem, how lovely to think that the love of dogs has gone on for so long.

      Great to hear from you, Nell.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

      Yes, it can be difficult. Before I had kids I was so attached to our dogs we took them to the UK with us. There they were in quarantine for 6 months and lived their lives there. Their passing was hard to take.

      I know many people who have been devastated when their pets died. That is when a friend, is really needed to help ease their grief. For those who don't understand that strong bond, it can be difficult to show support even if they are a good friend.

      Thanks for your comment and kind words.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 months ago from England

      Sad topic, and when I lost my dog I sobbed bucket loads! so anybody who had a kind thought would be awesome in my eyes. love that poem by Lord Byron, he must have loved his dog!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm sorry about the loss of your dog, Mary. Although the loss of a pet affects people differently, it can sometimes be a very difficult experience. Pets are members of the family for some people. Thank you for sharing your helpful ideas and the poem.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

      Hello Dora,

      I am sure as a counselor you know that grief can be all consuming, even if it is for a pet. Being there for someone can often help more than they know.

      Regarding Byron's ode to his dog, I have always wanted to share that since I first read it. I think he put into words, feelings many of us have for our pets.

      Thanks for your support.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 months ago from The Caribbean

      This is my favorite: " Four legs, a big heart, it was love from the start." Thanks for these wonderful suggestions of grief expressions. What a powerful tribute from Lord Byron! He really loved that Boatswain.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

      It can be hard to let go of them especially when you've had a dog for so many years.

      I think it is easier to share feelings with those who have lost a pet when we have experienced it. The feeling of grief is real and I'm sure it helps if they just have someone who will listen to how they are feeling and share memories.

      Sometimes people just can't share in someone's grief, although they might be close. In this case, I think just a simple card at least will show you're supportive.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 months ago from Chicago Area

      What lovely sentiments to share when this happens. Sorry to hear about the loss of your girl in April! We had to say goodbye to our 10-1/2 year-old golden girl last month.

      I totally think that sending messages of sympathy are appropriate for animals. They are cherished family members. Thanks so much for the ideas for when I need to send these messages to grieving friends!

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bob,

      I had many pleasant walks around Newstead Abbey as my in-laws lived within the abbey walls.

      Lord Byron was a lad, did you know he used to put his staff on a boat in one of the abbey's lakes and fire cannons at them? He obviously loved his dog more than people.

      You've touched on another favourite, James Herriot. I have a book upstairs. I should re-read it, I love the simplistic way of life he captures.

      I know people love their small dogs equally as much but I always have a soft spot for larger ones. We had a Brazilian mastiff and he was a lovely dog.

      My sister has an ageing dog and after he dies, she will be on her own, I am concerned how she will deal with that. Besides the security of having a dog, there is also the companionship they provide.

      Thanks for reading and reminding me about my favourite Yorkshire vet.

    • Blond Logic profile image
      Author

      Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Bill,

      I know it can be upsetting for some and I think those feelings need to be acknowledged. Sometimes they just need to share their memories or have a shoulder to cry on.

      We have replaced Daisy with another dog, which looks similar, albeit a bit larger. She had been owned by a French family who had a pizza parlour here in town but returned to France. Now, the dog has 8 acres to run about on and she seems to be settling in well.

      Glad to hear your weather has finally turned.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 2 months ago from UK and Mexico

      Thank you for bringing Byron's magisterial poem to the hubbers and others. It is, in my opinion, one of the best poems in English ever written and certainly the most endearing regarding the loss of a pet. I had a Newfoundland once, and they can steal your heart for all the reasons Byron spoke of. I also had a mini Schnauzer with all the marvelous qualities in a small package.

      Many people, especially those left alone, do miss their pet as much as any human family member, and never forget them.

      As the Yorkshire vet, James Herriot, bemoaned, they just don't live long enough when compared with our own span, so ownership is bound to bring great happiness and great sorrow.

      Lovely and thoughtful article.

      Bob x

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      It's an interesting topic, Mary. We are close to our animals; we even mourn, a bit, the loss of a quail or a chicken, but I, too, don't feel the need for consolation. Having said that, I know many friends who are deeply affected by the loss of a pet....most notably the loss of a dog or cat...so these suggestions, I'm sure, are helpful.

      I hope you are enjoying your day. Our summer finally arrived, reminding us all why we love this portion of the country.