Over the years, I’ve lost many pets. Not a single one of them has ever been an easy loss. As a matter of fact, most of them have been gut-wrenching and left me in a state of sadness and feeling of defeat and despair that I’ve never experienced with any human I’ve lost. I know many others out there reading this can relate.
The unequivocal grief of losing a pet
No matter how or when you lose a pet, the loss is never easy. Losing that one little four-legged being that never judges, is always happy to see you and snuggle, or has been through your best and/or worst times, is HARD! There’s nothing worse than that empty feeling when you look at the now vacant bed or spot where they slept, imagining them still being there.
Add to that the feeling that nobody can relate to your loss as they go about their happy lives, none the wiser to your immense pain and sorrow. It’s a level of pain and heartache that every single one of us that has ever lost a beloved pet can relate to. It’s also the worst part about pet ownership, in my humble opinion.
Why social media or similar condolences aren’t enough
Most all of us have some sort of social media presence and if you choose to share it, get the birthday well-wishes and other congratulatory or condolences posts when you post news that warrants it. Unfortunately, the loss of a pet isn’t really in the same category as a flooded basement. Losing a pet is much more personal and much, much more painful.
While sending a social media message, a text, an e-mail, or even a phone call are better than not doing anything, they still miss the mark. At the end of the day, when you are missing your beloved pet, you have nothing but a memory of some nice words someone typed or possibly called and said. Sadly, most, if not all of those messages will quickly fade away from the recipient’s memory that is undoubtedly caught up in immense grief and despair.
While I’ve been on social media since starting this blog in 2017, and have had so many kind and thoughtful words written there when I’ve suffered a loss of one of my pets, the one condolence that I clearly recall and that will stand out in my memory forever, is the friend that sent me an actual card with her condolences nearly two decades ago.
After so many years, I don’t remember the card or her exact words, I just remember the gesture. It was such an unexpected and thoughtful one that to this day, many years later, I still remember my surprise and the overwhelming feeling of gratitude I had at receiving it. Having been so touched by the gesture, I’ve made sure to send a card when I hear of someone I know losing a pet.
Getting back to showing kindness
I grew up pre-internet when sending a ‘Thank You’ card and similar polite etiquette upon hearing important news was pretty common. Even though technology and social media have really changed how we correspond with one another, I encourage everyone to not let that “old-timey” tradition go by the wayside.
If you’re a follower of my blog, you may recall last year when I shared the sudden and tragic loss of our beloved cat Moose. To say my heart was broken is an understatement. I actually had trouble getting to sleep because I kept reliving the event and trying to think of what I could have done to have changed the outcome. It went on for months.
During that difficult time, I joined a pet loss Facebook group. While reading others’ tales of loss and heartache made me feel less alone in my grief, I did find one pretty common theme that surprised and saddened me. There seemed to be a serious lack of empathy shown to many members from those around them.
Here were these people that were emotional wrecks over the loss of their pet and feeling so much despair at their life suddenly being upended being told by friends, family, and co-workers to “get over it”, “it was only a <insert animal type here>”, or “you can get another <insert animal type here>”. My heart broke for those poor grieving owners and I was mad at those people I didn’t even know for their complete lack of human decency.
Ways to show your condolences
While we all may have different beliefs on a number of issues, one thing that unites all of us pet owners is the love we have for our pets and the immense pain we feel when we lose them. To some who have few friends or suffer from health issues that bond them even tighter to a pet, the loss is even larger.
While the cost of a nice card nowadays can easily get near double digits, you don’t have to spend that to get your message through. An inexpensive card with a thoughtful message will mean more than you realize to someone going through the loss of a pet. There is nothing like someone taking the time to send you an actual card with a kind message to help lift your spirits of feeling all alone in your grief.
To help those that are busy or want some possible options for a card or tribute, I perused Amazon for some touching and mostly reasonably-priced cards that I wanted to share. I also found some very touching figurines that would touch someone as well.
A universal card for a pet loss of any kind: https://amzn.to/3tY92zC
Figurine of an angel holding a cat: https://amzn.to/3u23DYo
Figurine of an angel holding a dog: https://amzn.to/2Sc1X1e
An interesting thing about doing something kind for someone is that it makes you feel good too. It’s a win-win situation and it’ll make the world a little bit brighter for everyone. Who doesn’t want that?
Be the person you want to see in the world.
For my list of favorite things I (mostly) own and/or recommend to fellow pet parents and occasionally random strangers, you can visit my Amazon store page here, https://www.amazon.com/shop/savingscatsanddogswhilesavingcash. I’ve included little notes about the products also.
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