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Focus on the Griever during Pet Loss

When someone loses a pet, it can seem like their whole world has come crashing down. This person may cry uncontrollably, not be able to get out of bed, or eat. This is normal for grieving. If you want to help the person, please remember to focus on that person –  not yourself.

Some people will try to help someone who is grieving after pet loss by stating:

  • “I miss him too. I remember…”
  • “I remember when I lost my pet.”
  • “I am so sad. I can’t believe he is gone.”
  • “I can’t stop crying…. I am so heartbroken to see you like this too.”

As you can see, the person is focusing on him or herself. How he or she feels, not the way the griever feels. If you sit back and think about what is really going on with those statements, you will see that it’s an attempt to gain sympathy for how he or she feels.

People who say this during a difficult time believe they are helping. They believe they are identifying with the person by trying to show they feel the same way. The problem is the perception is incorrect.

When people try to turn the attention onto themselves, it makes the griever feel as though he or she needs to step up and comfort them. This isn’t exactly what the griever wants to do or has the energy for at that time. Instead, the griever wants the comfort. The griever needs that focus on him or her.

How You Can Help

If you have a tendency to turn the situation around on you and how you feel about it, try to do the following:

  • It’s not about you. It’s about the griever. Stop yourself from making any “I” statements.
  • Ask questions about how the griever feels.
  • Ask what you can do for the griever.
  • Give the person a hug.
  • Be with the person. Some people want to be alone when they mourn a pet, but others would like to sit and talk. If that is what your griever wants, go ahead and put time aside to help.
  • Make life easier for the person. Cook a meal. Clean the house. Take away some of the stress away, so that he or she can focus on healing.

You can be a great friend in this situation, just be sure to help that person. Don’t allow yourself to seek comfort when the person that really needs it is the person who lost the pet.

Please let us know how we can help you with the grieving of your loved one. It can take time, so be sure to take care of yourself away from that person, so he or she doesn’t feel like you need the help.