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Seven Ways to Help a Friend Who's Lost a Pet

by Peggy Haymes

© 2012 by Peggy Haymes

1. Acknowledge the loss

A counseling professor (who should have known better) once said to me, "My friend's dog died. I missed being greeted by the dog when I came to the door but I didn't say anything. I didn't want to make her feel bad." It's almost as if we think the person will forget about the loss if we don't mention it.

But of course, they don't. If we mention it and they start crying, they aren't crying because we brought it up. They are crying because it's what we do when we are grieving.

Acknowledging it can be as simple as saying, "I really miss Grover barking at me when I come to the door" or, "I was so sorry to hear about your cat" or "Does it feel weird not to have them here?"

When my cat, Sam, died, one of my friends sent flowers. When I called to thank her, she said, "It's just what we do when a family member dies."

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