Supporting someone in their grief

There are no rules when helping someone through their grief. There are no right things to say. There are no lists out there of what will make it easier for them. Your role as a friend is to simply listen. Many people don’t want advice. They just want a shoulder to cry on.

As an animal lover you can empathise and understand their grief but their grief is individual. You can’t take their grief away from them. You can simply hug them, give them a comforting touch, be there for them let them know you care. When it’s time for them to talk listen to them, don’t just hear them – really listen to them. Don’t pre-empt what they’re going to say, don’t interrupt, just listen, feel what they’re saying.

Remember, they have just lost a very special companion in their lives and life will never be exactly the same for that person again. Don’t tell them ‘time will heal all wounds’, ‘life goes on’ for some people time does not do this. Cheering up may not work for a lot of people. Solving their problems is not why they have asked for your support. For some people they may not grieve until days or weeks later, their grief may go on for a long time or may never be expressed. Remember, as an animal owner you too will eventually lose a companion animal and will need all the support that is out there, especially from friends.