What Do You Say When Someone Loses a Pet?

Grieving the Loss of a PetThe pain and grief of losing a pet is very real and can be extremely overwhelming.  Sadly, though not surprisingly, grief over the loss of a pet is often dismissed or treated with less respect and sensitivity as grief over the loss of a human.

According to Carol Baldwin, certified thanatologist and Director of the Center for World Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at ASU: “When we’re grieving for a pet, we’re [frequently] made to feel silly for grieving for so long…or so passionately.”  This is unfortunate, especially in light of the fact that “the grief that people feel for their pets is identical — and in some cases stronger — than losing an adult family member,” claims Dr. Claire Sharp, Assistant Professor at Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.  How so? Pets are as much a part of people’s lives as people (sometimes more)…bringing with them friendship, laughter, companionship and love.  When we lose anyone we love – furry four-legged or otherwise – grief typically follows.

So what do you say when someone loses a pet? Or more importantly, what should you avoid saying if you hope to be supportive?  Read more…

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