How to help a friend heal after the death of a pet
November 20, 2012
Pet parents develop an incredible bond with cats and dogs over the course of their relationship. From watching pets grow into adulthood to helping them as they learn new tricks and tackle tough challenges, the experiences one has as a pet parent can be emotionally fulfilling and intensely rewarding.
When pets pass away due to old age, illness or other conditions, it can be as traumatic as losing a member of the family. If you have a friend who has recently put his or her four-legged companion to rest in a pet cemetery, consider these tips to help the healing process along.
Send a card or gift basket.
It may not seem like a significant thing, but sending your friend a card during this harrowing period can show you understand what he or she is going through. A handmade card can also be an especially sympathetic move. If your friend has other pets, filling a gift basket with treats for the other dogs or cats in the house can be a sweet gesture.
Understand the grieving process.
Dogs and cats have a tremendous impact on our lives and when they pass away it can leave a void in the lives of pet parents. Part of being a supportive friend is understanding that grieving process can take time. A study by the University of Hawaii's Animal Science department found that pet owners who have a substantial attachment to their pets can experience depression and post-traumatic stress disorder following the death of a beloved four-legged companion that can last six months or longer.
Volunteer your time.
When a dog or cat passes away, some pet parents may feel the urge to bring home a new pet right away in effort to forget their sadness. While this may be the right choice for some, Pet-Loss.net recommends avoiding this, as it can be difficult to build a relationship with a new dog or cat without first working through feelings of sadness and grief. Instead, consider encouraging your friend to become an animal volunteer in NYC instead. This can help him or her spend time with animals and heal, without making a long-term commitment to another feline or pooch.
Pencil in some face time.
Even if your friend doesn't feel like socializing, by visiting him or her you can show your concern. Also, try to accept that your friend is going through a difficult time and offer them guidance, love and above all, support. If you're unable to spend time with him or her, recommend a support group to facilitate the healing process.
Make a donation.
If your friend is a passionate lover of animals, you can show that you care by making a donation to BIDEAWEE. Animal shelters like those operated by BIDEAWEE help dogs and cats gain access to vital veterinary services when they need them most, and are a great place for those looking to adopt a cat or dog. Many of these facilities depend on generous support from people just like you to continue offering the most flexible and dynamic services to animals. By making a donation in your friend's name, you can improve the quality of life for a dog or cat in need.