What to Say and Do When a Friend’s Dog Dies

The death of a beloved dog can be traumatic to the pet owner. Here’s what to say and not say to a friend who’s dog has died.

The death of a pet dog can be devastating to a dog owner. Dogs have become so much a part of most families that it can be no less devastating than the death of a human. If you have a friend who has recently experienced the death of a pet dog, what’s the best way to express your condolences? Here are some say and not say when a friend has experienced the death of her dog:

Be available to listen.

After the death of her pet dog, your friend will feel better knowing you’re there for her. Give her a call and let her know you’re available to listen anytime she needs to talk. Sometimes just knowing that someone is there who cares can help a grieving pet owner. If she prefers to grieve alone, respect her right to do that.

Don’t trivialize her experience.

One of the absolute worst things you can do when a friend is grieving over the death of her dog is to give them impression that her grief isn’t justified since it was “only a dog”. Your friend likely had a very strong bond with her dog and is should be allowed to grieve on her own terms.

Don’t suggest that your friend replace her deceased dog.

Some people when attempting to soothe the feelings of a grieving friend will innocently suggest that she can get another dog. If your friend is in the early stages of the grieving process, she probably doesn’t want to even consider the possibility of bringing a new dog into her life. She will interpret this to mean that her old dog is replaceable.

Send a sympathy card or a handwritten note.

Send a special sympathy card to let your friend know you’re thinking of her. There are a variety of cards on the market that express sympathy for the death of a dear pet. If you can’t find one at your regular card shops, call some local pet stores and see if they carry them.

Write a handwritten note.

An alternative to a sympathy card is to write a handwritten note. After expressing your sympathy, it may be helpful if you can relate how you felt when your own dog died. This can make her feel less isolated and alone. You may also want to describe a happy memory you have of her deceased dog.

Create a happy memory.

If you have artistic talent, consider creating a drawing of her deceased dog and frame it for your friend. If you have a flair for creative writing, compose an uplifting poem about her dog that will evoke happy memories for her.

The death of a pet dog can be a traumatic experience requiring varying degrees of time for the healing process to take place The quiet concern of a good friend can be immensely helpful to your friend during her time of grieving.

Liked it


User Comments
  1. lizzie 2 uk

    On November 8, 2007 at 4:25 am

    Good advice

Post Comment
comments powered by Disqus