Many individuals consider their dogs to be members of their family. As a result, the loss of a pet, particularly a companion animal, may be traumatic for those left behind. Their disappearance may create a big gap in their household that will be felt for years, if not forever.
Know someone who is grieving the loss of a pet but isn’t sure what to say? We understand. It might be difficult to find the appropriate words to convey your sorrow while remaining courteous and considerate. That’s why we’ve created some sample statements and prompts to assist you in determining what to say when someone loses a pet.
What to Say When Someone Loses a Pet
Regardless of whether the pet died unexpectedly, ran away, or had to be put down due to a long-term fatal condition, losing a pet is difficult for the owner. “Grief is tenacious and can dig deep into the heart,” Wendy Van de Poll, MS, CEOL, a pet grief expert and founder of the Center for Pet Loss Grief and the Center for Animal Communication, explains. “It disrupts daily routines and can leave people feeling hopeless.” The seven phases of mourning are incredibly helpful; the sequence in which they are experienced is entirely up to the individual. It is critical to allow them to develop normally.”
Offering nice and soothing words is an excellent way to show the bereaved that you are thinking about them in a way that recognizes their sorrow. Scroll through these empathetic expressions for ideas on what to say (and what not to say) after a pet dies:
What not to say
Saying the wrong thing may cause wounded feelings and strain some of the most important relationships. “It can be difficult to know what to say at the right time, and we can find ourselves bumbling for words,” adds Van de Poll. “If you know someone who has lost their pet, it is best to prepare yourself ahead of time to become aware of unintentional yet potentially hurtful comments.”
Here are some things you should avoid saying to someone who loses a pet:
- “It was just a pet.” A pet is a beloved member of the family, and their loss can be just as devastating as the loss of a human loved one.
- “You can always get a new pet.” This is insensitive and may make the person feel like their grief is not being acknowledged.
- “They’re in a better place now.” This may be true, but it doesn’t make the person’s loss any easier.
- “I know how you feel.” Unless you have also lost a pet, you cannot truly know how the person feels.
What to say or do in person
Pet loss is an individual journey. So, as a friend or family member offering support, remember to be sensitive and keep in mind that what you say should reflect your personal relationship with the owner.
Try some of these examples:
What to say over text or write in a sympathy card
1. Expressing Condolences:
- I’m so sorry for your loss.
- My heart goes out to you during this difficult time.
- Please accept my deepest sympathies.
- You’re in my thoughts and prayers.
2. Sharing Memories:
- Remembering [Name] and the joy they brought to our lives.
- Cherishing the wonderful memories we shared with [Name]
- [Name] will always be remembered for [positive trait or memory].
3. Offering Support:
- If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
- I’m here for you whenever you need someone to talk to.
- Lean on me for support in any way you need it.
- I’m sending you strength and comfort as you navigate this loss.
4. Reflecting on Life:
- Life is not about the years we live, but the impact we make.
- [Name]’s legacy will continue to inspire and touch lives.
- May the love and memories you shared with [Name] bring you solace.
5. Acknowledging Grief:
- Grief has its own timeline; take all the time you need.
- It’s okay to feel a mix of emotions right now.
- Your feelings are valid, and I’m here to listen without judgment.
6. Offering Kind Words:
- In times of darkness, your strength and resilience shine brightly.
- Your courage in facing this loss is truly admirable.
- Your loved one’s spirit will live on through the love you shared.
7. Religious or spiritual comfort:
- May [Name]’s soul find eternal peace.
- I am praying for comfort and healing for you and your family.
- May God’s love surround you and provide comfort.
8. Simple and Heartfelt:
- With heartfelt sympathy,
- Wishing you peace and healing,
- Thinking of you and sending love,
- In loving memory of [Name],