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Losing a beloved pet is an incredibly heart-breaking experience, and knowing how to be there for a friend during this time is so important.

When a friend’s dog has passed away, show them you care by showering them with love, empathy, and understanding. But it’s not always easy to know what that looks like. Here are some compassionate and supportive ways to be there for them:

1. Just listen

The loss of a pet can bring a wave of emotions. Give your friend space to share their feelings and memories without any judgment. Listening attentively and validating their emotions will let them know that you acknowledge their grief and that you’re there to support them wholeheartedly. Many pet owners are afraid to show their grief – it can often be met with that harsh and scathing phrase “it’s just a dog”. Don’t be that person.

2. Show Empathy

Losing a furry friend is akin to losing a family member. Put yourself in their shoes and express your empathy in a genuine way. Assure them that their grief is valid and that you understand the depth of their pain. A comforting word or a gentle touch can go a long way in offering solace during this difficult time.

3. Give Practical Help

When dealing with the loss of a pet, everyday tasks might seem overwhelming. Lend a helping hand by taking care of practical matters like arranging cremation services, assisting with funeral arrangements, or offering to run errands. If there are children or other pets in the picture, offer to take care of them for a while. By alleviating some of their responsibilities, you allow your friend the space and time to grieve without added stress.


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4. Share Your Own Experience

If you have experienced the loss of a cherished pet, opening up about your own journey of grief and healing can provide comfort to your friend. Share anecdotes and stories of how you coped with the loss and found solace. This shared understanding will remind them that they are not alone in their pain and that healing is possible.

5. Create a Memorial Together

Help your friend create a special tribute to their beloved dog. Encourage them to gather photos and create a beautiful album filled with cherished memories. Planting a tree in their pet’s honour or making a donation to an animal shelter in their name are also meaningful ways to keep their memory alive. These acts of remembrance can provide comfort and a sense of peace.

6. Be Patient and Understanding

Healing from the loss of a pet is a unique and personal journey. Everyone copes differently, and your friend might have good days and bad days. Be patient with their emotions and offer understanding even if their grieving process takes longer than expected. Assure them that you are there for the long haul, ready to provide support whenever and however they need it.

7. Encourage Self-Care

Remind your friend to take care of themselves amidst their grief. Encourage them to get back into activities they enjoy, eat and sleep well, and seek solace in hobbies or spending time in nature. Taking care of their emotional and physical well-being is essential during this challenging time.

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8. Connect them to a counsellor

Grief is a complex process that takes time. Understand that your friend may experience waves of loss and that time isn’t always a healer. If you feel they might benefit from talking with an expert in pet bereavement, reach out to some professionals on their behalf. Taking care of this practical step for them takes the onus off of them and allows them to focus on healing from their loss.

Losing a pet is a profound experience, and supporting a friend through such a difficult period requires genuine care and compassion. By being present, empathetic, and offering practical help, you can provide your friend with the love and understanding they need to navigate their grief and find healing. Your support can make a world of difference to them at a terribly sad time.

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