It can be tough to know what to do when a friend's pet passes away. Losing a pet can be hard on the owner and those who have known the pet, because the pet truly becomes a beloved member of the family. So here are some nice things you can do for someone to help them with the loss of their pet.
1. Get them a card
Pick up or make a card that expresses how sorry you are for their loss. Write that you are there for them and if you knew the pet, a fond memory you have of them. Getting a card can be a lovely reminder to your friend that they are not alone, while respecting if they would like some solitary time to grieve.
2. Call them
Your friend may be feeling very lonely after losing their loved one. Calling them to let them know you are there to hear what they have to say is a kindness that is rarely done in the age of texting. Even if there isn't much to be said, the act of physically listening lets your friend know they have your support. Then you can give advice if they ask for it, or simply tell them jokes if they need to laugh.
3. Give them a hug
Your friend may not even have words to express it, but if they had a pet they loved they probably spent time hugging and snuggling their pet. Now that their pet is gone, they might need a hug. Even if you are not an especially snuggly person, your friend will appreciate a hug if you offer it and they say yes.
4. Donate on their pet's behalf
It's a wonderful gift not only to your friend, but to pets and animals out there that need help. Especially if your friend's pet died of medical complications or illness, donating to an organization that helps pets with that illness is a lovely and kind act. However, donating to any cause that helps animals will help your friend (as well as the animals).
5. Check in with them over time
Healing from the loss of a pet takes time. Do not expect your friend to recover quickly or even fully. Pets make an impact on our lives, and losing them stays with us. Checking in with your friend lets them know you understand and respect their loss and are there no matter how much time has passed.
6. Give them food and calming gifts
Your friend is probably sad and tired and in need of some relaxation. So bake them some foods for when they are ready to eat, give them calming scented candles, or some soothing tea. When you're sad, nourishment can be the first thing forgotten while the most important in the healing process.
7. Offer to help them with their pet's items
When a pet passes away, it can be hard to decide which of their things to keep and which to get rid of. Sometimes it can be a real gift to have someone else take care of it. If your friend is ready and wants the help, you can offer to help them clear out their pet's personal effects. If they want to store things instead of getting rid of them, help them do that. Doing it alone can be an incredibly sad moment, but having a friend there to help can make this difficult process better.
8. Put them in touch with a support group or hotline
If your friend is feeling alone, they might be helped by some organizations or others who are dealing with a similar loss. There are some helpful hotlines provided by organizations like the ASPCA or Tufts University, or they can look up some support groups they could become active in at Pet-Loss.net.
Most of all, being a good friend is the best way to help. So be patient, kind, and there for your friend, and they will appreciate it.