Have you ever gone through the experience of losing a pet? It’s definitely not easy, and it takes time to grieve and push yourself through the loss. Many people who lose a pet often do not know what to expect, but the grieving process is truly different for everyone.
If you know someone who has recently said goodbye to a pet, you may be wondering how best to comfort them, and help them to get through a difficult time in their life. Here are ten ways that you can assist someone who is grieving the loss of a pet.
Validate Their Grief
Sometimes losing a beloved animal friend can be even more painful than losing a close relative. Even if you have never experienced the death of a pet, it’s vital that you allow your friend to grieve.
You should not judge them based on your opinion of how important the pet was to them. Ensure that you know how they feel and can empathize with them in their moment of loss.
Remind Them How Much the Pet Loved Them
One of the reasons that people purchase or adopt pets is because of the unconditional love that they offer. Pets are there for their humans in good times and bad, making the relationship especially unique.
When your friend experiences loss, you can remind them that their pet loved them and saw them as their best friend. Your friend will no doubt find comfort in knowing they gave their pet the best life possible.
Send a Thoughtful Gift
If you’re unable to pay a visit to your friend, or you simply want to offer them more, you should consider sending a gift. Flowers can be a classic, but you can also look into gifts specifically for those who miss their deceased pet.
Many loss of pet gifts can express your condolences in an appropriate way. You will be able to pick out something personal and thoughtful, to truly express your sorrow for the grieving owner.
Communication Is Key
Sometimes when one goes through the grieving process, they may just want to talk about what they’re feeling. Talking through emotions can be incredibly therapeutic, and a healthy way to cope with deep emotions.
If you know your friend or loved one prefers to discuss their feelings as a way to cope with them, offering an ear can be one of the best things for their healing. Offer to come over if they’re comfortable, or if not, a phone or text conversation can be effective.
Share a Memento
If you happen to have a photo, video, or another item that was important to the pet, you should consider bringing it to their owner as a memento. These types of visuals hold powerful feelings that can help with bereavement.
Items can bring an immense amount of comfort to the owner, especially if it is something that reminds them of their pet. You can even make photos into a personalized album or a customized card.
Give Them Time
Because grief is unique for each individual, you should always remember that your friend may need more time to memorialize a pet than you might need. Therefore, make sure that you are still being sensitive to their feelings and needs, and working around their timeline.
Most importantly, you should not try to push your loved one to do anything before they tell you that they’re ready. It can be seen as insensitive or callous if you try to force them to stop grieving, even if you believe that is what’s best for them.
Take Care of Chores
When one has suffered a loss, the last thing they want to do is take care of things around the house. If you have a good relationship with your friend, you may feel comfortable offering to assist them with basic household needs.
It may not seem like a huge difference, but cooking a meal or cleaning the kitchen can lift a weight off of their shoulders. If they have children, ask if you can take the kids to the park or out of the house for a while, to give parents time to relax.
Offer to Plan a Memorial
Many pet owners consider their furry friends to be an honored family member. As such, pet memorials and funerals have become more of a popular option for them to honor their beloved companions.
With permission from the owners, try to plan something that honors the pet and its family. You can purchase a beautiful engraved stone or plaque as well, to create a space for the family to remember their pet.
Help Out Animals in Their Honor
If your friend or loved one has a passion for animal welfare, one of the most selfless things you can do for them is to donate to an organization for animals. Many give recognition or memorial packages as a token of appreciation for donations.
You can also volunteer and help other animals find their forever homes. If your friend considers getting a new pet, then you may have the perfect option for them in the future.
Help Them When They’re Ready to Move Forward
You should make it a goal to always be present for your friends, especially through their grieving process. However, they may approach you when they feel that they have moved into the acceptance phase.
If they express that they’re interested in getting a new pet, then you should be supportive of that choice. You can even help them to look for a new furry friend to add to their family unit.
Grieving the Loss of a Pet Is an Individualized Process
When your friend is grieving the loss of a pet, you should keep in mind that every person copes with loss differently. What works for one loved one may be completely different for another.
Looking for more advice on being a good pet owner? Have a look around our blog for all of the pet content you could possibly want.