When someone suffers the loss of a pet, it’s often difficult to know what to say. Telling the person that they have your sympathies is common and also very appropriate. However, there will always be those who do not understand the magnitude of another’s grief, and will ultimately say the wrong thing.
Talking with someone who is grieving the loss of pet can be a delicate task, but there are a few simple rules you can follow to help avoid any pitfalls. For example, spend more time listening than talking. This way, you can avoid saying the wrong thing and at the same time allow the person to hear themselves speak of their beloved pet. This will be healing for them.
If you do initiate a topic, stay away from negative issues such as the amount of money the person spent on care or whether or not they did everything they could. If the pet was ill, never question or comment on the choices they made with regard to the care they gave. Remain supportive, offer to be with them and assure them you understand how much they loved their pet.
For more information on how to be supportive, you can visit the Publications Page at Chance’s Spot. Our handy guide called “How Can I Help?” addresses several topics for people to avoid, as well as topics that can be useful in assisting those who are grieving the loss of a pet. It’s a guide for friends, family and animal care givers to refer to when supporting those who are grieving. It’s a PDF document that can be downloaded for free from the site.