In this harsh world, the purest form of love is the love of a pet. We often hear that "your pet is a part of your life but for them, you are their whole life." There's something magical and exquisite about the innocence of a pet's love. A pet is not just your animal companion but also a beloved member of your family. Their uncanny ability to sense your discomfort and offer you instant warmth is a true blessing.
Pets represent everything good in the world. Their unconditional love is all anyone needs to heal from any kind of suffering. But how do you heal from the pain of the loss of a pet? How can anyone truly heal from losing the one who gave them peace?
"The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not 'get over' the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to."
For some people, the death of a pet can hurt more than the death of a human. Their loss could send them spiraling into emotional trauma and maybe psychological issues. Knowing this, you might be struggling with questions.
What to say when someone loses a pet?
What is the appropriate thing to say to show them sympathy?
There's no real right answer for this. However, listed below are some pet sympathy quotes and ideas to help you express your emotions.
1. "I can't fathom what you're going through right now."
If you haven't had a pet before and regardless of whether you're empathetic or not, it is not appropriate to say you know what the other person is going through. Everyone processes grief in different ways. So, losing a pet might be common, but the bond that's shared between a pet and their human companion can never be the same.
"The bond with a dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth can ever be."
Sometimes, it helps when people just have their pain acknowledged. You don't necessarily need to do anything. Saying that you know what they are going through may trigger them or make you seem ignorant of their anguish.
2. "I'm here if you wish to talk.'
Some people prefer sharing their feelings as it helps them process then. Whereas others don't want to talk about the pain they are still reeling from.
"They say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is infinite."
Some might want to share happy tales; while others may prefer to be distracted from the matter entirely. They might want to talk about things completely unrelated to their pet.
However, it's always better to offer them the option, so they know they have someone to turn to. You do need to be ready for a string of different possible stories and reactions.
3. "Hey remember that one time when...?"
If the person you are talking to is the kind to deal with grief by sharing stories and talking freely, then you can chip in stories of your own. The stories could be about any incident, the dog breaking the pots, the cat making a mess in the kitchen, the bird escaping the cage, etc.
"There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief."
The memories may be bittersweet at best, just as long as there's a smile on your friend's face even if it's tinged with sadness.
4. "Would you like my help to put away their things?"
Reminders of something or someone you have lost are always hurtful and traumatizing. Sometimes, it's better when we have the support of someone while we go through something like this. Help them by gathering their belongings like toys, food, etc and storing it someplace else.
This takes away their attention from the constant reminder of losing their pet. Additionally, if they decide to get another pet, they can use these things. Once they are ready, they may choose to donate some of their pet's things.
5. "Your pet was the luckiest because..."
Often, parents second-guess their ability to provide for their children. Similarly, a pet owner might do this, especially after the pet's demise. Should I have been more loving? Should I have borrowed money for that expensive treatment? Was he/she truly happy with me?
Questions like these may be swirling continuously in their head. So, it's very important to remind them that they have their pet a great life. Share stories and photos to show them the love they showered on their pet. Tell them that they were the reason behind the bright smile and tranquil look on their pet's face.
6. "[Insert pet name] is probably in an even better place now."
Always use the pet's name when talking about him/her. It shows that you truly care and are not there just to be polite. Even if you are consoling them just to be courteous, knowing this might hurt them greatly. Regardless of whether you can comprehend the loss of a pet or not, avoid anything that might trigger your friend.
If your friend is religious, spiritual, or believes in the afterlife, assure them that their pet is in a happy place.
"If there is a heaven, it's certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them."
Your friend might have given their everything for their pet's happiness, so, they might want to be reassured that they are content wherever they are. You might not know the truth but this harmless belief might help them.
7. "Would you like to hold a memorial?"
Funerals are an integral part of the process to heal from the death of a loved one. A memorial, big or small, for your friend's pet may help them gain some closure. Offer to help them organize the memorial. Invite the people who were part of the pet's life.
"Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love, they depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog, it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs your heart is very big."
Seeing that they are not alone in their grief and that their pet has touched others' lives may give them some comfort.
8. "I would love to go outside with you if you are up for it."
When you lose someone, it's difficult to perform some activities that you associated with them. It may be especially hard for dog owners to do activities like going for a walk or going to the park. The memories may be too painful for them.
Offer to go out with them so they get some fresh air and feel better. If they are affected negatively, you could help and your presence could work as a safety net for them. Eventually, they might start liking those activities again because it reminds them of their pet.
9. "Your pet was special. He/she was irreplaceable."
Some people might want to get a new pet immediately to help them cope with their loss. Others might want to take some time to heal before they are ready to welcome a new pet. In either situation, it's important to assure them that their pet was very special.
"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us."
The owner of the deceased pet might feel some guilt when thinking about getting another pet. They may feel that they are betraying their pet in some way. Tell them that their pet can never be replaced, no matter what. Their ability to love another pet is just a testimony of their big heart.
10. "How is the family? How are the kids?"
A whole family is affected when a pet dies. The concept of mortality might be new for the younger kids. Naturally, it is not an easy thing to comprehend and face.
"Dogs leave pawprints on our hearts."
Ask your friend about how the family is handling the loss. Offer some goodies that might make the kids feel better. Furthermore, offer to help them in any way you can.
11. "You took the right call."
The most punishing part of pet ownership is deciding to put them to sleep if they are in agonizing pain and facing a difficult disease. You can't use words to explain the situation. The traumatizing decision to euthanize a pet can leave a person with a scar on their soul and feeling incredibly vulnerable.
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
Tell your friend that they took the decision that was best for the pet. No matter how difficult the decision may have been, the pet was now free of the pain.
Pets love us unconditionally despite who we are, and what we do. For most people, pet sympathy isn’t hard to express. There's a reason why it pierces our hearts to see a pet harmed, while a gruesome depiction of human death may not have the same effect. Pets deserve to be treasured at all costs and a person who has had a pet surely knows that.
"Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim."
Grief over the loss of anyone who you adored is difficult, let alone a pet whose love is unconditional. Hopefully, this article helped you gain some idea about what to say to someone who has lost a pet. The best thing you can do for someone who has lost a pet is to be there for them in any way you can and offer them your sincere support.