Anyone who’s ever lost a pet knows the deep void they leave behind. The grief we experience when we lose our best friend can be profound. Sometimes we might feel shocked at the depth of loss and heartbreak we're experiencing; we may even feel like we shouldn’t be grieving so much for a pet, but it’s totally and completely natural. In fact, studies show that losing a pet is every bit as traumatic as losing a family member; I mean, many of us feel that our pets are part of our families, right? So know that whatever you feel when your pet dies is completely natural, and the last thing you need on top of the pain you're already dealing with is to judge your grief as somehow wrong — it's definitely not. And if you're searching for what to say to someone whose pet died to show you care, know that empathy really is the best policy here.
Our animals are a source of unceasing companionship — often for years of our lives — and the unconditional love we feel for and from them is unique. Their care becomes woven into our daily routines, and they offer us profound comfort, fun, and an often much-needed and uncomplicated love. Whenever we’re experiencing any kind of loss, our support system is crucial to our well-being. And if someone you know is grieving because they’ve just lost a pet, you might wonder how you can help. It’s important to know what to say to a grieving person, and how to best offer support. Someone in a grief process can be deeply vulnerable, and is hurting a lot — so what we say, or don’t say, matters more than ever. Here are five ways to support someone whose pet has died, as well as some things to avoid.