7 Things Not to Say to Someone Whose Pet Has Crossed the Rainbow Bridge
By Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell
Pet loss can be a very emotional experience for everyone whose lives they touched. According to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey from the American Pet Products Association, 68 percent of US households have some type of pet, which suggests that a majority of people likely understand the special bond you can have with a pet. However, in an attempt to sympathize, even fellow pet parents can unintentionally say things that come off as insensitive.
Experiencing Grief When a Pet Goes to the Rainbow Bridge
Grieving a pet is a highly personal experience. “Pet loss really falls into the category of disenfranchised grief,” says Eric Richman, a social worker at the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University in Grafton, Massachusetts. “Disenfranchised grief is that which cannot be easily publicly mourned.”
The reason people may blurt something out before thinking is just not knowing what to say, even though most people have experienced grief themselves. “Oftentimes, it is from the fact [that] people are not comfortable with grief,” says Richman. “Words that seem comforting in the mind might come out as insensitive.”
Here are 7 things people sometimes say to someone who is grieving a pet, along with suggestions for what to say instead.