It’s often difficult to know how to support someone who has suffered a tragic loss. And when the grief is for a pet, it can be more complicated to know what to do.
Show compassion for your loved one or acquaintance. Learn four ways to comfort someone after their pet dies.
1. Listen Openly
Sometimes the best way to support someone is to listen. But effective listening takes skill. Give the grieving owner your undivided attention and let them talk freely at their own pace.
Don’t rush to fill silences with your own words. Give the speaker time to process their thoughts and feelings and relay them verbally. You can give verbal cues that you’re listening, like “I see” and “mm-hmm.” You can also restate what they’ve shared to show that you truly hear them.
2. Speak With Compassion
The second way to comfort someone after their pet dies is to speak compassionately. The person grieving the loss of a pet is emotionally raw, and your words can have a greater impact than you might intend. This means you have the power to further wound or help heal the pain.
Keep your words focused on their relationship or acknowledge the owner’s feelings and their validity. If you know the pet’s name, use it when speaking about the pet. Common things to say include:
- “I’m sorry for your loss.”
- “I’m so sorry to hear this. I know you loved your pet very much.”
- “It’s never easy to lose a beloved pet.”
3. Share Memories
If you have memories of the pet, share them. Your memories can be direct experiences that you had or statements about what you remember about the owner and pet’s relationship.
If you are close to the grieving person, consider giving them a pet tribute. Many pet owners feel alone in their grief. Giving a memorial gift shows that you care about their loss and honor the bond that they had.
4. Keep an Open Door
By actively listening and speaking encouragingly, you show that you care. You can offer more support by letting the pet owner know that you’re always free to listen or spend time with them.
The simplest way to show your continuous care is to reach out and ask how they are doing in the ensuing days. You can help the owner feel comfortable with talking by asking thoughtful, open-ended questions to show that you’re interested.