In Furry Memories: How to Help a Friend Handle the Loss of a Pet
Imagine not hearing the lovely sound of your furry friend waiting by the door as you enter your home. Imagine not seeing the face of your furry pal that stays quietly by your side through thick and thin. Imagine having to live with their absence from here on out.
One of the toughest things a person can go through is losing a pet. Pets are often considered family members, and their loss can feel like a tremendous blow.
Suppose you have a friend who is grieving the loss of their beloved pet. You want to help them cope, but you're unsure of where to start or feel like you can't help at all. Fortunately, there are tried-and-tested ways to help them through this tough time.
The Grief of Losing a Pet
Dealing with a loss is difficult, no matter who or what it is you've lost. Pets provide such companionship and unconditional love that their loss can feel like a huge hole in your life. Your friend can get hit with a sudden wave of grief that seems to come out of nowhere, and sometimes it's tough to know how to help them through it.
After all, grieving is different for everyone. Your experience can significantly differ from what your friend goes through. Generally, the most common feelings experienced when grieving are denial, depression, guilt, sadness, anger, and ultimately, acceptance and resolution. However, getting to the acceptance and resolution stage is not easy.
Most people experience a cycle of super intense or low emotional waves. It goes on and on for long periods, especially when you have developed a deep attachment to your pet. Sometimes, you will feel better, but even the slightest sound, sight, or event can bring back memories and trigger even more intense grief.
It's tough, but that's how it naturally unfolds. Grieving takes time, and you shouldn't rush it. Otherwise, you won't get over it, and it might add other health-related problems. No matter how long it takes, you must be patient and allow things to unfold naturally.
5 Ways to Help Your Friend Survive the Grief and Loss of a Pet
How can you help someone grieve the loss of their pet? We understand if you're struggling to know what to do to help a grieving friend. After all, we don't have similar experiences, as grief varies from person to person. Still, you can do so much more than you think, and it starts with your genuine presence.
Here are some tips on how to help your friend during this difficult time, from pet ceremonies to unique pet ownership alternatives.
Hold Rituals, Ceremonies, or Meaningful Events
Rituals, ceremonies, or events are a way to mark a pet's passing and honor the things that make them special. You can help your friend organize a memorial or burial service, create something unique like an art project, or celebrate in any other way that feels appropriate.
More examples include:
- Hanging pet collars at home
- Planting a tree in memory of your friend's pet
- Building a mini shrine
The sight of it might make your friend sad, but it's also a comforting remembrance. Don't bother listening to what other people say, especially those who think pet funerals are inappropriate or unnecessary. They don't understand what you feel, so ignore them and focus on helping your friend.
Reach Out to Pet Support Groups
Your friend might not feel comfortable sharing their grief in public. Fortunately, there are private support groups for those dealing with the loss of their pet. They'll listen without judging or offering advice but simply give comfort through their presence.
Ask your friend whether they prefer face-to-face or online pet loss support groups and help them look for one. It's especially helpful when you want to be there for them but feel that it's not enough, especially if you haven't had the same experience.
Validate and Understand The Way They Grieve
It's easy to think that it's silly for someone to grieve over an animal, but you should never say this to someone who has lost their pet. Instead, try your best to understand how your friend feels and what can help them deal with their grief.
You don't need to say anything flowery if no words of comfort come to mind. Instead, simply be present and recognize their grief, even if you don't understand it completely. Showing them that you care makes a huge (and positive) difference in their journey to recovery.
Look After Them and Their Surviving Pets (If There are Any)
It can be a lot for your friend to take care of themselves and their surviving pets when they're grieving. It eats up their energy and emotions, and pets also tend to mirror human sorrow. Consequently, they need someone to look out for them, and that's when you can offer to help.
Provide food, water, walks, and playtime for the pets. Look after your friend and ask if they need some time alone or want quiet company. Ensure they're having healthy meals and getting enough sleep and exercise. Checking up on them will prevent further damage and motivate your friend to focus on recovery.
Give a Stuffed Animal as a Present
This one might seem a little out there for some, but it could be the perfect present for your friend who has just lost a beloved pet. A stuffed animal can always remind them of their pet and offer comfort during tough times.
It doesn't have to be huge or costly, but it should be something that comes from your heart. What's more important is that your friend knows you're there for them and will support them through their grieving.
Lifelike Memories With Perfect Petzzz
One of the best things you can do when a friend grieves the loss of their beloved pet is to be there for them. Listen to their stories, allow them to cry on your shoulder, validate their feelings, and just let them know that you are one call or chat away.
You can also help them commemorate their pet's life through meaningful events, pet support groups, self-care reminders, or lifelike stuffed animal presents.
Should you decide to get them a furry companion minus the hassle and expenses, you can give them a temporary alternative from Perfect Petzzz. We offer adorable dogs and cats that look, feel, and breathe like real living pets.
They have soft, synthetic fur and produce cute little snores when asleep. Moreover, they don't get sick, so your friend won't experience another loss. They make perfect gifts because they don't require energy and money for food and other vet bills. Moreover, you may add accessories such as toy sets and totes for a more realistic experience.
Here's to remembering good, furry memories and better days ahead for you and your friend!