How to be a friend when a girlfriend has lost a pet

We’ve covered how to be a better friend when a friend loses a parent or is dealing with cancer, but what about how to be a better friend with a girlfriend loses her beloved pup?

My BFF Terri (who is so thoughtful and sweet that she inspired this Girlfriendology blog) had a terrible tragedy over the weekend. She and her husband had to put their sweet, funny ‘puppy’ Monty to sleep. He had been dealing with seizures and medical issues for a while, but they’ve been patiently and thoroughly exploring all the options – yet the time came when there was nothing else to do.

As a woman who still misses our dog Stella (who we had to put down almost three years ago and still makes me tear up), I understand her pain and sorrow. (And, I cannot imagine the loss that a mother feels when losing a child or dealing with serious illnesses or disabilities in one’s own ‘flesh and blood.’ I cannot imagine.)

But the loss of a pet that was loved, that brought laughter and joy everywhere it went, that taught and practiced unconditional love and that made coming home always joyful (and, in this case, also gave great ‘kisses’!), is a sadness you experience to the depths of your spirit. (How could you NOT love a pup as cute as Monty above?!)

Thankfully we have our girlfriends to turn to in this situation, as we always do – thankfully! We asked you for your girlfriend advice on how to be a better friend to a girlfriend who just lost a pet and you responded (on our Facebook girlfriend page) with this great wisdom:

* April wisely shared: “Well, to me my pets are like my babies…so, losing one of them would be as bad as one of my children…this could be as bad to her … just be there for her.”

* Laurie, sadly, has experience and offered: “I had to put my dog AND my cat to sleep all within 2 weeks; I say to just listen when she wants to talk about him and frequently ask how she is doing.”

* Girlfriend Jeanne said: “I would praise her for doing the most difficult, but kindest thing a dog owner can do for their loyal companion. It is the sad contract we sign when we bring them into our lives and hearts…. but such joy they bring!” (I agree!)

* Laura commented: “I would just let her know that you are there for her when she needs something.”

* Rahjenna shared lots of great girlfriend advice: “Give her a soft shoulder to cry on and an open ear to listen. Then help her to be gentle and kind to herself. Anything comforting is wonderful – run her a hot bath with pretty smelling salts, make her chamomile tea, light some candles for her. Give her a foot massage with her favorite lotion, or even just a neck and back massage. Bake her some chocolate chip cookies or her favorite and eat them with some cold milk. Rent a comedy (like the Forty Year Old Virgin) and spend some quality time with her. Buy her a good book or a journal to write in to help her heal. And last but not least … when she is ready, do a ceremony for closure. Light candles and set up pictures of her beloved and express and acknowledge how much unconditional love her pet gave to her. Loosing a pet IS like loosing a child, and needs to be treated like such, because it hurts so very bad….I hope this helps some..”

* Sherry shared: “Let her know you are there for her if she needs to talk.”

* Lynne offered her girlfriend advice: “Just give space and time for her to talk – talk some more – sit and be silent and talk some more. She is grieving and it will take some time. I lost my Dog within 6 months of my Mom’s passing and what I remember most is the people who just sat with me. Nothing special – just those that were there and I didn’t feel alone in my thoughts. As well, … nobody tried to make it better. I remember someone told me that my Dog was well loved and everything I did or didn’t do for her was out of love and I felt so much better hearing that.”

* Linda has been there too and shared: “Just letting her know you care, try to talk to her about the good times she had with her, and how she enriched her life. Just the fact that someone listens and truly cares how sad you are meant a lot to me.”

* Pamela also has dealt with this feeling of loss and sadness. She commented: “There really is not much you can say, if you are truly BFF’s, then a hug and words like “I feel your sadness” if you do. If not, a hug and “If you need me I am here for you.” It is a death not unlike a humans, she will need time to get through all the emotions and the ups and downs. My beloved died eight years ago and I still think of her and miss her to this day. Say something like ” You gave her the best life and she loved you for it.”

* Neighbor and girlfriend Jenny (who has a cute pup named ‘Easter’!) offered this great girlfriend advice: “cry with her & make a donation in the pet’s memory to SPCA or Humane Society or a vet school. (I always make donations to Purdue’s vet school)! & look at lots of pics! :)”

* Someone else I’m proud to call my BFF, Jill, shared this (and did this for me when Stella died – I love it and it’s still in my office and kitchen!): “Make them a picture of their dog as an angel.”

* Cheryl shared: “There are never easy words for loss. What can we do: love them unconditionally, let them know they are not alone, make sure they eat, feel supported, allow them to talk and cry and talk and cry, share memories, let them know that they are not going crazy – that this loss is very real indeed. Platitudes like -things will get better – don’t work here. We grieve as deeply as we love, is a key piece here. It hurts like heck and that’s okay – we need to feel the grief and all the stages to heal.”

* Stacey recommends: “Great book called Dog Heaven. A friend gave it to me.” (There’s also Cat Heaven too!) & Dee seconds that!

* Girlfriend Gretchen can relate and shared this: “Try Good Grief: Finding Peace after Pet Loss by Sid Korpi (On Facebook too). Minneapolis author – has some nice stuff in it. Just be there for your friends – it is hard – ever so hard. It has been a year and I still miss my girl something terrible.”

Thanks so much girlfriends for sharing!

Terri, so many of us feel your pain. I loved what Cheryl said above: “We grieve as deeply as we love.” Monty was a lucky dog to be so loved! Know I’m here for you, as your girlfriends are too. HUGS!

Add your girlfriend advice on how to be a better friend to girlfriends experiencing grief over losing a pet in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And hug each other, okay? Just because!

 

p.s. Also offered were ideas of girlfriend gifts for friends dealing with the sad loss of a beloved pet. Please share your ideas for more ways to be a better friend!

 

Here’s more Girlfriend Advice on being a supportive friend when a girlfriend goes through tough situations:

That’s why we’re here – to inspire you to BE A BETTER FRIEND – even, and especially, when life hands you or a girlfriend tough situations.

COMFORTING GIFTS FOR FRIENDS: HEALING BASKETS provides gifts to comfort and support the broken hearted. From sympathy, and loss to cancer, get well, divorce and caregiving. These gifts encourage, comfort and inspire.

What other tough situations would you like us to cover on Girlfriendology? PLEASE SHARE below!

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