Words to express our sympathy for loss of a pet are hard to find. But first of all, here's what not to say! You'll also find some great cards with comforting sayings and some links to pet loss quotes.
First of all, we need to understand that for many people pet loss is significant and profound. Most of us will, at one time or another, be called upon to support an important person in our life as they experience the devastating loss of a pet.
Whіlе it mау bе vеrу hаrd to knоw what tо say, an іmроrtаnt раrt оf supporting the loved оnе іѕ to knоw whаt NOT to say:
1. "It was just a dog (fill in here: cat, horse, bird, rabbit, gerbil, etc)".
There are millions of households in nearly every country who have chosen to own a pet, often as a very important part of their family. The love that a pet owner shares with this pet is indeed a unique and special part of their life and should never be minimized as "just a " anything.
2. "If losing a pet is doing this to you, I would hate to see what you would do if you lost something really important, like child".
This cannot be a helpful thing to say under any circumstance. While this attempt at "tough love" may seem like it will shake the loved one out of their misery, don't say it. Grief is not a competition and one person's sorrow should never be compared to another's. The emotions of grief are similar whatever the cause of the grief.
3. "At least you won't have the kitty litter (carpet spots, horse stall, cage) to deal with anymore".
Many times with the loss of a pet, those are just the routines that a pet owner misses the very most. The daily reminder that those chores are no longer necessary while seemingly freeing to someone from the outside can be a very painful part of the loss of a pet.
4. "They are in a better place".
While a nice thought, in the initial throes of grief, it can also be a very discomforting thought. To a pet owner the "best place" for their pet is in their home or in their arms. And not everyone believes in the afterlife.
A bereaved pet owner may feel that they are letting their pet down by not "being there" any longer for them.
5. "You can get another dog (fill in here: cat, horse, bird, rabbit etc. )".
Pets are beloved individuals and can never be replaced. The bereaved pet owner knows they can get another pet so it doesn't have to be stated right away. Often they will need time to process their loss before they can contemplate bringing another animal into their lives. Many feel that they would be "unfaithful" to their lost fur baby in finding another so quickly.
Others, however, do need to fill the space immediately with another pet. But this suggestion is best left unspoken at the beginning of the grieving period.
6. "I thought you were prepared for this" or "You have known this was coming".
Even though the pet mummy or daddy may have been dealing with an aging or ill pet for a long period of time, the actual loss is something that really cannot be fully anticipated. Each pet loss is unique, even for the experienced pet owner who has traveled down the path of grief before.
While they may be prepared for the process, the finality of the event and the acceptance of facing the days ahead without their familiar animal's presence is something that each pet owner has to deal with in their own way.
7. "Enough time has passed, you should be getting over this by now" or "It's time to move on".
Time actually is the only thing that will get the bereaved pet owner in a better place with their loss, but sometimes it can take a very long time. Every person processes their loss at a different pace and the best thing that a friend or loved one can do is wait, be gentle, and be patient.
Perhaps some lovingly suggested pet loss support groups, online pet loss sites or helpful pet loss books would be a better approach.
While it can be very hard to know for sure the words to say when a loved one in your life is facing the loss of a beloved pet, here are two simple suggestions which are guaranteed to be on the list of "Things to say when someone has lost a pet":
"I love you" and "I am so sorry". Say them softly and say them often.
Our free downloadable and printable document "The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life" will help you to be positive day to day.
The 10 points are laid out like a poem on two pretty pages which you can pin on your fridge door to help you every day!
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