When it comes to losing a pet, some people find it very devastating.
For them, it is almost the same as losing a family member.
If a friend or any close person loses something, people find it difficult to know how to support the person.
It isn’t easy to know what to say, especially if you are not an animal person.
Even though you do not understand this type of grieve, it is essential to know what to say to your loved one.
This article will give you some tips on being a compassionate friend to someone who has lost a pet.
What Can You Do?
Before doing anything else, you have to try to understand your person.
What would it feel like if you lost something or someone close?
Would it hurt like hell?
These questions can help you empathize with their situation and recognize their emotions.
Understand their grief
The first thing to do is understand bereavement.
Come in terms with the fact that grief is not reserved for the loss of people only.
It is pretty okay to be attached to an animal and feel devastated when they are gone.
People grieve differently.
Some people break down, while others want to be left alone entirely.
Understanding the kind of griever your friend is can help you support them.
You can help your friend cope by being present and letting them grieve according to their terms.
Ask Them What They Need
Do not assume what your friend wants. Instead, ask them what they need from you and how you can help them.
Your friend might want you to do something small that triggers their emotions.
It could be planning the funeral or researching afterlife arrangements.
Whatever it is that they need, let them know that you are there.
The grief might be too intense, and they will not have the energy to do small tasks such as grocery shopping.
You can do this for them.
What Can You Say?
Sometimes, a person who has just lost a pet will downplay their emotions.
They do not believe that the death of their pet is a priority to everyone else.
You will notice that they do not want to burden anyone with funeral arrangements or anything else.
It is essential to show them that you care and empathize with their situation.
Let them know that you are there for them, and you can listen whenever they need to talk.
They will realize that they are not alone when going through such a hard time.
“I Cannot Imagine What You Must Be Going Through Right Now.”
If you have ever been in the same situation as your friend, you do not have to say you know what they are going through.
Experiencing a loss can happen to anyone, but people are different in how they react and grief.
Suggesting that you exactly know what they are going through can be dismissive of their feelings and experience.
“Would It Help If You Talked About……”
As stated before, everyone handles loss in their way.
Some will now want to talk about their pets because the loss is too painful.
The other will want to talk about the little thing their pets did that made them happy.
You have to ask them first if they would like to talk about their furry friend.
First, know which side your friend lies.
If they are comfortable, they will speak about the happy moments shared with their pets.
During this time, you should get ready to handle how they react while remembering such memorable experiences.
“Do You Want Me To Help Put Their Things Away?”
Seeing things such as kennels, food, collars, toys, leashes, treats, or anything else that belonged to the pet could trigger your friend.
When you enter a pet owner’s house, you will automatically know that there is a pet in that house.
The items lying around the house will give that away immediately.
Such items could be a daily reminder of their loss.
If your friend agrees, you can put these items in the garage or storage shed instead of throwing them away.
If they decide to get another pet, they can reuse some of the things or donate them.
“We Can Go Outside If You Want To.”
Going outside and seeing other pet owners can be difficult for someone who has just lost a pet.
Places such as hiking trails and parks can bring up memories that your owner doesn’t want to remember.
After a loss, they may avoid going outside to prevent remembering anything related to their pet.
However, they must get fresh air and exercise for their physical and mental health.
If they end up feeling too overwhelmed and anxious, they can rely on you as support.
“You Made The Right Choice.”
Some pets suffer from illnesses, and pet owners have to make a difficult choice of putting them to sleep.
Imagine a pet you once loved, cared for, and spent almost every minute suffering from pain, and you have to decide to let them rest in peace.
Although it is the right thing to do, it is still excruciating.
It leaves the person feeling devastated.
Help your friend understand that it was the right decision.
They might ponder over their decision, but hearing it from a close person can make a huge difference.
“Would You Like Me To Organize Afterlife Arrangements?”
Funerals are a way of saying goodbye to someone you love.
However, some people also want to organize such events for their pets.
A small ceremony can go a long way to help your friend with closure.
If your friend is comfortable with the small event, you can organize for some of your friends to attend and share a few words and share the most memorable experiences they had with the pet.
You can arrange for some funeral flowers to lay down as a symbolic gesture.
It can just slip out of your tongue that your owner should get another pet.
Some people need more time to heal and grief over their other pets.
Let your friend know that their pet was irreplaceable, and they could never have another like her.
They must take time to mourn before they can love or take care of another pet.
If your friend wants another pet immediately, support them in every decision they make.
What Not To Say
Sometimes you might say something with the best intention, but they might give you terrible results.
Do not say the following things;
“When Will You Get Another Pet?”
Saying this may seem thoughtful, but it can upset your friend.
They might perceive it as a suggestion that they should replace their pet.
Some people are very close with their pets and love them like children.
Every person wants their child to outlive them, and if the opposite happens, it leaves a devastating effect on the parent.
It is usual for people to outlive their pets, but it is still painful.
Telling your friend to get another pet can make them feel worse than they already do.
“It’s Just An Animal. Get Over It!!”
Telling your friend to get over it because it was just an animal is viewed as heartless.
Regardless of the type of pet it was, it is good to acknowledge your friend’s emotions.
Do not disregard how they cared and loved the pet.
There was an emotional connection, and belittling it could make you seem very selfish.
Remember that your friend is genuinely upset, and if you say this, things will never be the same again.
Grief causes people to experience a range of emotions, such as anger.
It might sound like an overstatement, but they could associate your face with the death of their pet forever.
“You Didn’t Even Love The Animal.”
If the owner always complained about their pet, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t love them.
Even if they were not the original owners of the pet, the time they spent together meant something.
Whatever the circumstance was, it is still sad news that they lost the pet.
It could be a situation where you didn’t like the pet, but it is not something to bring up in such a sensitive time.
Let it go and support your friend.
Other Ways Of Supporting Your Friend Through this Loss
You could also support your loved ones in different ways after they lost their pet.
The following tips can help you be there for your friend;
- Cook Some Food
Grief can lead to loss of appetite. You can whip up your loved one’s favorite dish and bring it to their house.
Let them share about their loss as they eat.
- Help them memorize their pet.
There are many ways of memorizing your pet after a loss.
You could organize a small burial or funeral ceremony.
If they do not want a funeral, you can help them make a memory box or photo collage of their pet.
Losing a pet can be very devastating.
If your friend or relative is experiencing this loss, it is crucial to support them so that they don’t feel alone.
As you support them, ensure you are saying the right words to avoid making them feel worse.