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What to Say When a Friend Loses a Pet

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Bolt, Yorkie-Poo guest columnist:

It is with a heavy heart that I compose this entry.  Bo was such an incredible cat, a real joy, a source of inspiration to all.  He will be missed greatly, but we will maintain his spirit and presence continually throughout this blog.  Jessie is rather choked up right now, and rightfully so.  As such, I wanted to digress from the theme of the month to focus on what you can do when a friend loses a pet.  How should you appropriately respond?

Most of us have probably known someone who has experienced the loss of someone very close to them.  It is often an awkward and difficult situation and can be very challenging to know what to say and what to do.  It can be just as difficult for someone to lose a pet, as those are often some of the very closest bonds we have in life.  Here are a few suggestions for helping a friend cope with the loss of a beloved pet:

**Offer your sincere condolences and ask if there is anything you can do, just as you would if a human had died.

**Bring over dinner or a special treat.  Getting back into the routine of things after the loss of a pet can be difficult.  Simple gestures such as a meal and even a hug can help tremendously.

**Be a supportive listener.  Ask to see photos of your friend’s pet.  Let your friend talk through her grief and remain supportive and understanding.  For many people, a pet is a true member of the family, and losing a pet leaves a big void, just as the loss of a human life would.  Never say things like, “It was time for him to go,” or “Now you can get a new dog/cat.”  Be sympathetic.

**Send a card to let your friend know you are thinking of her.

**Share a special memory you have of her pet.

**Allow your friend time to grieve.  Do not even mention the thought of getting another pet for at least six months.  As with any loss, the grieving process must take place.

Bo…you will be missed, but you will never, ever be forgotten!  We love ya, man!

(Thanks to for this valuable insight.)


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