Ways to support a friend after losing a pet

Finding the words to console a friend who’s lost a loved one is hard, and it can be just as difficult to support a friend after the loss of a pet. If you’ve ever lost a much-loved pet, then you know just how difficult it can be for everyone affected.

The importance of pets

Cats and dogs are more than just pets, they become companions, the most loyal friends, and they’re a big part of the family. The grief experienced when a pet dies is lost or needs to be rehomed can be as intense as that experienced and felt when friends or relatives have died.

It can be a lonely and distressing time, so finding the right things to say or do can make a big difference to someone who thinks they’re alone.

What to say to a grieving friend

It’s never easy to know what to say to someone who is grieving, but if your words are genuine, sensitive and show that you care your friend will appreciate the sympathy and support. You could also share your memories of their pet, offer your condolences, and remind the owner that they gave the cat or dog a great life.

When talking about their pet makes sure you use their name, just like we would if it was a friend or relative.

Listening is just as important

If your friend feels comfortable enough to talk to you about their situation, offering a listening ear can make them feel like their loss is acknowledged. Just being present and willing to listen can be all the other person needs.

Other ways to show support

If your friend doesn’t find it easy to talk, there are other ways to let your friend know you’re thinking about them can help with the grieving process.

A bouquet of colourful flowers

  • Send a pet condolence card
  • Send some flowers or plant
  • Donate in the pet’s name

Be wary of social media

While in certain circumstances social media can be a very useful tool for showing support and conveying messages of condolence, think twice before posting about your friend’s loss into the public domain.

Many people wish their grief to be a private matter, and the increased focus and well-meaning attention that posting socially brings, can often have the opposite effect than intended and make a bad situation worse for your friend and could cause friction between you if they did not want the matter made public.

Provide ongoing support

The grieving process varies from person to person, and when the cards and flowers have stopped it’s still strange to live a life without their beloved pet beside them. Therefore, it’s important to offer your support for as long as your friend needs it.

Blue Cross also offer a Pet Bereavement and Pet Loss service if your friend would rather talk to someone they don’t know or if they feel like a burden to those close to them.

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