If you’ve ever loved a pet, you know how much losing one can hurt. In fact, according to Psychology Today, the death of a pet can be just as traumatic as losing a close family member. Maybe it’s because dogs and cats can live for up to 15 years and become a long-term companion, just as important as a sibling or best friend.
If someone you know has lost a pet, you may not know exactly what to say. They may not, either! Some people hesitate openly grieving a pet because it’s not as socially accepted as mourning a human being. However, it’s just as important to acknowledge their pain. A gift or a loving word can mean so much to someone dealing with the loss of their furry friend.
We’ve provided handcrafted paper gifts to veterinary offices and humane societies, and we understand how important a loving gesture can be. Here’s what we recommend if you know someone who is missing their dear companion.
(1) Acknowledge that they have lost a friend.
Some may feel embarrassed to openly grieve the loss of a pet. It’s incredibly important to recognize your loved one’s loss. Give them a chance to talk about their cat or dog. Offer words of support, whether it’s over the phone or on social media. Even the briefest gesture of support can help.
(2) Send a little something.
When Heather Morgan of St. Louis, Missouri lost a beloved dog, she was heartened by the thoughtful gifts her family sent, which included a blanket and a plantable sympathy card. Gifts can be as varied as a framed photo, a bouquet of flowers, a piece of jewelry or even a pet portrait. Another gesture to consider is a donation to an animal shelter in the deceased pet’s name. Your local veterinarian’s office can help you make a donation and send a card to your grieving friend.
(3) Check on them.
Remember that, for some, losing a pet can be just as devastating as losing a close relative. As your loved one grieves, check in on them from time to time. Do they need help with groceries or simple errands? Encourage them to get out and about, too. Sometimes keeping up a regular routine can help a person get through a time of grief.
(4) Decide on a thoughtful way to memorialize their pet.
Taking a moment to memorialize a pet can help give a pet owner closure and ease the pain of their loss. This memorial doesn’t necessarily have to take the shape of a funeral. Maybe a scrapbook project or a memorial garden will make the pet owner feel that their beloved friend has been honored.
(5) Make sure your friend gets out of the house.
It’s common to isolate yourself when you’re dealing with a loss. Don’t let that happen to your friend or loved one. Especially for those who live alone, their pet may have been a big part of their social life. Invite your friend for walks, lunches, or trips to the store. It can be a way of helping them reconnect.
What NOT to Do
There’s no standardized way for dealing with the loss of a pet. It’s important, however, not to ignore the event or make light of it by saying, “it’s JUST a dog/cat.” Doing so won’t make your loved one feel any better. It’s also not appropriate to put a timeline on their grief or encourage them to just get over it. Don’t bring up getting another pet until the person is truly ready. Instead, be supportive and patient, just as you would if your friend had lost a close family member.
Beautiful Products by Cast Paper Art Make a Thoughtful Gift
At Cast Paper, we make all of our eco-friendly products by hand, using the same technique that has been successful for hundreds of years. Each sheet of our paper is crafted using recycled fibers and other natural inclusions like fresh wildflowers and other plants. Whether you’re helping a friend overcome a loss or celebrate a big event, consider giving them a true work of art.