Our years of performing dog and cat cremation services have taught us that people grieve their pets in a variety of ways.
It’s a difficult time. Losing a pet is never easy, especially in a society that urges us to “get over” an animal’s death in a way they never would when a person dies.
If you’re not sure how to talk to someone whose pet has just died, remember that they might just want someone to listen.
The most important thing is to make sure they feel heard, loved and supported. It may also help to consider this list of things to say, as well as some approaches to avoid.
1 – Offer your condolences
Simply saying “I am so sorry for your loss” shows the person you care and validates their feelings of grief.
2 – Personalize their pet
Use the pet’s name as you talk about them instead of just “your cat” or “your bird.” It lets them know you recognize their pet as part of their family.
And while phrases such as “I can’t imagine what you’re going through” might sound cliche, it does let your grieving loved one know you recognize how big their loss is and opens the door for them to share how they feel.
3 – Offer your support
Tell them you’re there for them when — and if — they need you. It might be difficult for them to reach out for help at this point and they might not even know what type of help they require. Saying “I’m here for you” lets them know they can call on you if they wish.
4 – Offer validation
Say something like “What you’re feeling is valid. You really cared about [their pet’s name] and he cared about you.”
This makes it clear to your friend that you’re offering a safe space to discuss their grief and that feeling this way about the death of a pet is perfectly normal.
There are also some things you should avoid saying, such as:
Bringing up their next pet
Even if your intentions are good, asking questions like “When do you think you’ll get another dog?” can make it seem like you consider their recently deceased pet is easily replaced. The question of when to get a new pet is something they’ll need to consider on their own time.
You wouldn’t ask someone who’d just lost their husband or wife when they were going to remarry. A pet might not be human, but your friend still felt love and companionship, and another dog/cat/hamster won’t fill the void that death left behind.
Don’t say “It was just a dog”
Don’t try to minimize what happened by saying things like “At least it wasn’t a child.” Pets are living family members, even if they aren’t human. And many people think of their pets like children. When you say things like this, you’re dismissing your friend’s feelings.
“They’re in a better place”
Some pet owners believe in the concept of the “Rainbow Bridge,” an animal afterlife. But what if your friend thinks that the “better place” was “still here at home”? Not everyone believes in an afterlife, so err on the side of caution here.
Pet Cremation Service in Orange County, NY
We understand this isn’t an easy time for you or your friends or family. That’s why My Pet My Friend Memorial Service in Orange County, NY has made it our mission to offer your pet the most dignified memorial possible through our pet cremation services.
We believe this is the most fitting option for pet owners, avoiding the many drawbacks that come with burial while still honoring your pets. Contact us today at 845-513-6692 (or 914-490-1436 after business hours) to learn more.