Pets share a special place in our lives and become a member of the family. They’re good for us, bringing pleasure, companionship, comfort, and love. So it should be no surprise that when they die, we grieve for them.

There was a time when pet owners got little support after their pet’s death. It was highly unlikely that a pet owner received expressions of sympathy, but social media has changed that.

Many of us communicate the ups and downs of our lives through social media so it makes sense that our friends share their sad news. We grieve with our friends and show support for a loved one’s death and now our friends seek and find an outpouring of support following a pet’s death.

Postings of pet loss are often personal narratives that include photographs. Friends may share the story of their beloved pet with cherished highlights and it’s hard not to be touched. One friend recently posted an endearing photo and wrote:

“One bright June morning we brought 12-week old Buttons home. A few days later we took her on a walk at the beach and watched the waves curl in. That was 12 years ago. During those years this fun, fluffy, good-natured little girl brought us so much joy. Last night we had to say good-bye and we are so sad.”

The responses to this post were heartwarming:

  • I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how difficult it is to say goodbye to a beloved pet. XOXO
  • We will miss you, Buttons!
  • So sorry to hear this. They're only with us a short time, but they leave behind a lifetime of memories.
  • I feel your pain. So sorry!
  • So sorry. Hugs and doggie kisses.
  • It's hard to lose the furry ones ... I'm sorry for your loss!

My friend was deeply touched. It can feel as if we are living in a world lacking civility and yet in our own individual corners, there can be much warmth. Your support to someone mourning a beloved pet can positively impact their healing. Let’s do for others what so many did for my friend.

***

Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now at a reduced price for e-books for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.

Image Sleepy Yorkshire Terrier Mix via photopin (license)

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Comment by T.C. Goodwin on May 25, 2016 at 5:40pm

I have so many friends that treat their pets like their own children.I also see some people that have pets and really should  not have them. The pets look malnourished and they seem to be suffering. How sad..We should treat pets with tender mercy (Proverbs 12:10) Thanks for the advice on how to respond to one that loses a pet.

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