Last time on the LazyPaw Animal Hospitals blog, we laid down the law on some nightmarish phrases no one should ever say to a friend who recently lost a pet. For anyone who stuck on finding the right thing to say to someone whose pet recently died, these simple phrases can get you through.
Remember that it’s not exactly what you say that matters, only that you show you care. Don’t ignore the loss when a friend’s animal dies. Act as if the pet was part of the family—because for your friend, they were.
I’m sorry for your loss.
Avoid comments like “Buster’s at peace now” unless you are sure about the religious preferences of the person you’re talking to.
I know Buster meant the world to you.
You may not have cared a hill of beans about Buster—heck, he may have annoyed you, or maybe he smelled funny and aggravated your allergies. But to your friend, he was everything. There is an empty space in your friend’s home and heart without him, and no matter how you felt about the animal, it’s polite to acknowledge that the pet meant the world to your friend.
How can we help you honor Buster’s memory?
For many people, a memorial activity can begin the healing process. Your friend may want to do something special to honor their animal, but feel self conscious asking others to participate. Offer to be there with them if they’d like to say a few words, have a small service, or plant a special tree.
I know Buster’s adoption anniversary is coming up. How are you doing?
To be a stellar supporter, remember an important date or two about your friend’s pet that might be most significant to them. Send a card on the animal’s birthday, or call your friend on the anniversary of their pet’s passing. Anything that says you care will mean the world to them.
How are you doing with the holidays?
The holidays are an emotional time for anyone who has lost someone special, and for people who have lost a pet, the holidays can be just as hard. Give your friend a call or send them a note around the holidays to ask how they are doing. Invite them to your home or ask if they’d like to meet for coffee or lunch. Knowing someone cares is always good, no matter what time of year it is.