Tag Archives: pet loss grief support

How To Support

Saying the right words or finding specific ways to help are some of the most important things you can do when someone you care about is struggling.

Ideas to consider might include:
1. “Thank you for all you do for me/us, but now is a time to take care of yourself as well.”

When someone is going through a difficult experience, they might not be able to justify a much-needed break. Help them by letting them know that you’d like to take over some responsibilities while they tend to their needs. For example, you can order food for them, ask if you can return phone calls or make appointments, or even just check-in daily with somebody going through a hard time. It can make a big difference.

If you’re far away from a loved one, and can’t be there in person, consider sending a care package with food or some of their favorite things, in addition to a personal message of support.

2. Remind your person of something kind they did for you.
They have probably been there for you when you were going through hard times. Remind them of this when they’re in the same boat. They’ll be happy to know they made you feel better. More importantly, hearing about how they helped you may make them feel a little bit better.

3. “I’m proud of you.”
These are powerful words.

Depending on the nature of your relationship with, there’s a good chance this important person would love to hear that you’re proud of the way they are dealing with a painful experience.

4. “My job is to make your life easier right now. This is how I’m going to do it. Does that work?”
People need to support each other when one is in pain. However, if you only ask a loved one “How can I help?” when they are struggling, they might not actually let you know. Instead, offer to make their life easier during this painful time in specific ways.

What to Say to a Friend Experiencing Hard Times. Friends aren’t just people we share fun times with. They’re also the people we may turn to when life is difficult. If you know a friend would like to hear from you right now, get in touch to share one of these messages:

5. “I hate that you’re going through this, but I know that you’ve got this. How can I best support you? “
People want to know their friends don’t just like them but admire them as well. Tell a friend going through a tough time that you know they have the strength to overcome it.

6. “You’ve got a lot on your plate. Can we set a time to chat every week?”
You can suggest a specific time each week when they can call you to vent. Some of my patients tell me this gives them an area to vent, cry, and be able to process their week.

7. “Remember when you were there for me? It’s my turn to do the same for you.”
Most friends going through hard times often feel better when someone reminds them that they’ve been a big help in the past. It’s easier to except help when you realize that you are not a victim, and that you have been strong in the past.

Let your friend know you want to support them by reminding her of a specific time when they did the same for you. This will boost your friend’s odds of actually accepting your offer to help.

8. “You’re my best friend. Helping in any way I can is my top priority right now. Please believe that.”

What to Say to an Acquaintance or Colleague Who’s Going Through a Rough Patch

When I had a beloved dog who passed away, I had colleagues at work who pulled together to help me with all of the vet appointments when I had to take time off.

9. “Here’s how we’re going to take care of your work while you’re away.”
A colleague going through a rough patch may need to take a step back from work for a period of time to address other needs. This may be true if your colleague is in mourning, struggling with illness, or dealing with a life challenge that consumes a lot of their time.

Your colleague might stress about work and wonder who will be handling all the responsibilities until they get back. You can help your colleague in a very big way by coordinating with supervisors and coworkers to divvy up responsibilities. Get in touch and show your colleague you have work responsibilities under control.

10. “If you need a reference, networking help, anything like that at all, let me know. Happy to help!”
There’s a chance you might be able to help by serving as a reference or introducing your colleague to others in your industry. Offering to help in these key practical ways could make your colleague feel cared for.

Read more on the importance of compassion The Science of Compassion.

Agape and Pet Loss

The New England Journal of Medicine reported in 2017 that after her dog died, a woman experienced “broken heart syndrome”—a condition in which the response to grief is so severe the person exhibits symptoms that mimic a heart attack, including elevated hormone levels that can be 30 times greater than normal.

Although grief over the loss of a cherished pet may be as intense and lengthy as when a significant person in our life dies, our process of mourning is quite different. Many of the societal mechanisms of social and community support are absent when we lose a companion animal. Few of us ask our employers for time off to grieve a beloved cat or dog because we fear doing so would paint us as emotionally weak. Studies have found that social support is a crucial ingredient in recovering from grief of all kinds. So, we are not only robbed of invaluable support systems when our pet dies, but we may even get messages overtly that it’s time to get over it.

People who have just lost a companion, or have a furry companion who is ill may find it extremely difficult to keep up with normal responsibilities, even though they are expected to keep performing as normal.

If your pet has been experiencing decline, whether age or disease-related, and you’ve been preparing for their passing, it can be helpful to have a “next steps” plan written down and posted somewhere that takes little effort to recall. In this acute phase, a lot of “easy” things to remember become much harder to recall, as our body is experiencing an intense emotional change and we struggle to grasp the new reality before us. Things around our home or yard may remind us of our loss. See also What Can We Learn from Companion Animals.

Integrate understanding friends or loved ones early on and notify them of your grief. Since grief is fluid, there are times that you may want to be alone with your emotions, and that’s ok. People may even say unhelpful things in an attempt to comfort you at some point such as, “we can get another one” or “at least they are in a better place.” In the acute phase, the most helpful thing is a calm presence and support. Even if there’s nothing more to be said, knowing that you can express your grief and are supported in your pain can make a world of difference.

If there is an unhealthy or no support system, there are online communities such as Pet Loss Grief Support Community at Rainbow Bridge or the Pet Loss Grief Support Message Board.

Embolden Psychology
Embolden

Embolden offers the ADOS-2, the gold standard assessment for kids on the spectrum.

Combined with psychoeducational testing, it helps provide comprehensive information and recommendations to help children and teens six and up.

Thank you for contacting us.