Pets can do wonders for people who take care of them. They can provide companionship, love, and support — even when humans let us down. Pets can be someone’s shoulder to cry on when nobody’s listening. They can even positively affect someone’smental health; that’s why people love them so much.
That’s why it’s no surprise that losing a pet can be challenging for people. It would be a lot to handle a loss of a family member that you’ve been with for years, and a pet can become just as close to someone. How much more would it be if you had to put your pet down yourself? That can be very devastating.
So if you have a friend who’s just had to put their pet down, know that they would need your support now more than ever. Here are a few things you can do for them:
1. Listen to them
One of the best things you can do for someone is to listen to them. This can be helpful if your friend needs to talk about their pet and share memories. Just hearing themselves say it aloud can help them feel better.
The feeling of having someone listening to their grief can also be therapeutic and help them start to heal. It’s a way for them to process their thoughts and feelings and know that they’re not alone in this. Being there as someone who could listen without judgment can be helpful.
Putting a pet down is a difficult decision that people have to make. If they need you to be there and listen to them, do your best to be available. That’s one thing you can do to show them that you care for their loss.
2. Express empathy
It can be difficult to understand what someone is going through, especially if you’ve never had to experience it yourself. But that doesn’t mean you can’t express empathy and let your friend know that you understand how they’re feeling. Just say something like,“I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how much you loved your pet, and I can only imagine how hard this must be for you.”A simple statement like that can mean a lot to someonegrieving.
Or perhaps, send them something that can help express how you feel, like a card or the food they love. Some companies makesympathy baskets of baked goodsthat can help offer some comfort. You can send them some of these to show that you’re thinking of them. Your friend would appreciate knowing that you understand what they’re going through, even if you don’t have the same experience. Just be there for them and express your sincere condolences.
3. Don’t say anything that would minimize their loss
When someone is grieving, the last thing they need is for someone to invalidate their feelings. So avoid saying things like,“It’s just a pet,” or“You can always get another one.”Statements like these would only make your friend feel worse because it minimizes what they’re going through. It would be as if you’re telling them that their pet wasn’t important to them or that they didn’t matter.
Instead, try to be understanding and respectful of how they’re feeling. Acknowledge this is a difficult time for them and offer your support however possible. Tell them you’re there for them if they need to talk or just need someone to be with.
4. Offer to help out practically
Yourongoing supportcould help your friend in more ways than one. If they’re struggling to cope, offer to help practically as well. This could be something like doing some chores, running some errands, or just doing some grocery shopping for them.
Your friend may not be in the right frame to take care of things. They may appreciate your help if you can offer to do something that would take some weight off their shoulders, especially during this difficult time.
5. Help them create new memories
One way to help your friends heal is by helping them create new memories. Doing this can help take their mind off things and help them start to feel better. It’s also a way for you to spend quality time together and create new memories that they can reflect on.
This could be something as simple as going for a walk in the park or taking them out for coffee. Or, if they’re up for it, you could even plan a fun day out together. Or perhaps, you could be going to the movies, exploring a new place, or doing anything they might enjoy. Just remember not to force them to do anything uncomfortable and to go at their own pace.
Helping your friend create new memories can be a great way to show them that you care. It’s also a way for them to start moving forward and begin the healing process. Losing a pet is never easy. But with your support, your friend will eventually be able to get through this tough time.
If you can be there for your friend during this tough time, you’ll be a true friend indeed. Putting down a pet is difficult, so they’ll appreciate your support. You can follow the tips above to help ease their pain and be there for them as they grieve.