Sadie Holloway, a proud cat parent, is a strong advocate for adopting pets from animal shelters and rescue organizations.
How to Support Someone Coping With Pet Loss
If you've ever lived through the experience of pet loss, you know that the death of a beloved pet can be one of the hardest things you'll go through in life. That's why when a friend's pet dies, you'll feel strongly compelled to reach out to your grieving friend and offer support and understanding. Indeed, one of the most thoughtful things you can do for someone whose pet has died is to let them know you understand their pain.
Consider a Sympathy Gift
In addition to your support and friendship in the bereaved pet guardian's time of need, you may find that a sympathy gift can bring comfort and healing to the both of you.
Five Gift Ideas to Give to Someone Whose Pet Has Just Died
These sympathy gifts for someone whose cat or dog has just passed away can bring hope and comfort to a friend or loved one coping with pet loss.
- A painted portrait of their pet
- A book on coping with the loss of a pet
- A memorial stone or garden statue to honor their beloved pet
- A handmade or personalized sympathy card
- The kindest gift of all: just listening
1. A Painted Portrait of Their Pet
For people grieving the loss of a pet, a portrait or drawing of their furry friend can be hung in a place of honor in their home. If you have some artistic skills such as drawing or painting, creating a portrait of your friend's pet is a thoughtful sympathy gift to help her remember her furry friend.
There are also freelance artists available online who could paint a picture of your friend's pet, if you aren't a good drawer or painter. The artist will need a photo of the pet in order to do the portrait. You may have to ask your friend's family members to help you find a picture of her cat or dog if you don't have one in your own collection of photos.
Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.
— Anatole France
2. A Book on Coping With the Loss of a Pet
Many people turn to self-help books to cope with grief after a loved one, including a furry friend, passes away. When my cat passed away after a long, happy life, I was devastated. I went to the library and found a few books on coping with pet loss. Reading Jon Katz's book Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die helped me process my feelings of grief, sadness, and even guilt for having to make a difficult decision with my vet. Self-help books on coping with pet loss are thoughtful gifts for people grieving the loss of a cat or dog.
Read More From Pethelpful
If you have never had to cope with the loss of a pet, you may also find it helpful to read articles on pet loss before you visit your friend and offer comfort and support.
3. A Memorial Stone or Garden Statue to Honor Their Beloved Pet
Creating a special spot in the garden to help honor her pet may help your friend deal with her grief. You can find pet memorial stones online. Some veterinary offices have resources and information on how to create a memorial for a deceased pet.
The vet's office may also have some booklets on coping with pet loss and information about local pet bereavement support groups. When and if your grieving friend is ready, accompanying her to a pet loss support group is a kind and loving gesture.
What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.
— Helen Keller
4. A Handmade or Personalized Sympathy Card
For some people, a sympathy gift may not be what they need to start healing from their pain. Your intuition will guide you in determining the best way to help your friend through her loss. You may choose to send your friend a card, especially if she lives far away from you and delivering a gift is not practical.
Some greeting card stores have cards designed specifically for people mourning the loss of a pet. But if you can't find a pre-printed greeting card, you could write your thoughts in a blank card or make a handmade card. If you aren't sure what to write in the card, choose a favorite comforting quote from an online quotation site or printed anthology of famous quotes.
5. The Kindest Gift of All: Just Listen
Just being with your friend after her pet dies is one of the greatest gifts you can give during her difficult loss.
One of the hardest things about coping with the death of a pet is the feeling that everyone will think you are overreacting. And sometimes people do say insensitive things to people coping with the loss of a pet: "It was just an animal. It's not like your mother just died!" That's why being a non-judgmental, empathetic friend is on of the best gifts you can give to someone whose pet has just died.
© 2017 Sadie Holloway