I don’t know what to say when someone lost their pet….
We hear this a lot and just recently one of our clients asked if we could come up with some suggestions.
- Acknowledging that someone has lost a loved one (yes, a pet is a loved one) is key. We all know people who see pets as objects and think we should just forget about them as soon as they are gone.
- Reassure them that they did nothing wrong. Pet owners often feel guilty and think they didn’t do enough or didn’t get to the Veterinary Clinic soon enough to help their pet. If the pet passed away as a result of an accident let the pet owners know that it isn’t their fault.
- A simple “I am sorry for your loss” is often enough.
- Ask what you can do for them/ Do they need a ride to the crematory to witness the cremation? Do they need a ride to the Veterinary Clinic to finalize the arrangements or pay the bill?
- A hug goes a long way.
- Condolence Cards: there is a wide variety of pet condolence cards available in local stores.
- If you have a special talent (i.e. woodworking, painting) offer to help commemorate the pet.
- Make yourself available if the pet owner wants to talk. Remember grief is a process and very personal. Get them to share happy memories of their pet.
- Make a point that they are allowed to feel whatever they feel.
- Look up grief literature for them. We use the website www.pet-los.net.
- Print out “Rainbow Bridge” and either give it to them or read it to them. We use this poem for the short Memorial Service when we scatter the ashes from communally cremated pets and it seems to resonate with everybody.
- If you feel more help is needed contact Bereavement Ottawa by Phone: 613-858-3113 or by e-mail: Info@griefsupportottawa.ca. http://www.ottawahumane.ca/?s=Grief+Support.
- The Ottawa Humane Society also offers Grief Counselling Sessions. You can find the information at the following link: