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4 Things You Should Never Say to Someone Who Just Lost a Pet


Loving & Caring Thoughts

Posted On: Jan 24, 2017

4 Things You Should Never Say to Someone Who Just Lost a Pet

To pet owners, the loss of a pet is a deeply felt and heartbreaking tragedy. Pet owners pour never-ending amounts of love and care onto their animals, so losing a beloved fur-child feels like the loss of a valued and adored family member—which it is. People who do not have pets, or who do not feel the same way, don't always understand the grief someone feels after an animal dies. Even though you don't fully perceive what a pet owner feels, you can still show compassion and support. To begin with, it is essential that you know the things you should not say to a person who's lost a beloved pet.

It's Just a [Pet]

To the pet owner, it is not “just” an anything. It's not “just” a dog, a cat, an iguana, or a parakeet. Again, some people view their pets as family. Don't minimize someone's grief simply because you don't understand it or feel that way yourself. That's both rude and cruel. Kindness costs nothing, nor does compassion. Show respect and just acknowledge that someone you care about suffered a loss that hurts deeply. That's all that matters. Offer support and tell the person that her or his pet was lucky to have a loving home.

You Have Other Pets

One pet is not a stand-in for another pet. Animals are not interchangeable. Even if someone has several pets, the loss of one is still keen. Additional pets are soothing, plus they are distractions from grief, but they are not replacements. This is insensitive. You should never suggest that having more of a thing makes up for the loss of it.

Are You Getting Another Pet?

Again, there is no replacement for a departed pet. A person may well choose to get another animal after a pet passes, but there's no way for you to know that unless the person tells you. Asking is somewhat insensitive because the pain is still raw and your friend still hurts. It's not always completely unacceptable to ask this question. For instance, after some time passes, and if you are extremely close to the person, you can safely—but tentatively—broach the subject. However, it's best to avoid asking if the death is recent.

For those of us who have pets, they truly are members of the family. They are, in fact, integral parts of the household. They bring unconditional love, affection, and comfort. It hurts deeply to lose a pet. To show your support, just offer compassion, a shoulder to cry on, and your presence. Those are priceless.