Gifts After Loss of a Pet: Showing Love for Grieving Pet Parents
Pets are more than just animals we keep around the house. They're a source of constant companionship, love, and affection, filling our lives with joy and wonder. They become a crucial part of the family, delighting us with their unique personalities and quirks.
As years pass, we develop amazing relationships with our four-legged companions, share wonderful moments together, and create memories that last a lifetime. However, the resounding impact animals have on our lives means losing one of our furry friends can be a truly heartbreaking experience.
If one of your loved ones loses their pet, showing sympathy for the passing of their treasured friend gives you an opportunity to show how much you care. A pet sympathy gift lets your loved one know you understand their grief and want to do anything you can to help them through it.
What are Pet Sympathy Gifts?
Pet sympathy gifts, otherwise known as pet bereavement gifts or pet memorial gifts, commemorate the loss of a pet and show your love during a time of grief. A sympathy gift not only demonstrates how much you care about your loved one or friend, but it can also be an excellent way to pay tribute to the impact the pet had on that person's life.
Giving a pet sympathy gift:
- Shows your love: A pet remembrance gift shows how much you care about your friend or loved one and their lost companion.
- Honors the pet’s memory: A pet sympathy gift can celebrate the life of your friend's companion. For instance, a donation made in the pet’s name to an animal shelter reminds everyone of how important and loved the animal was.
- Provides comfort: Losing a pet can be an isolating and traumatic experience. Without their furry friend around them, your friend or loved one may feel cut off from the world or lonelier than usual. Your gift can remind your loved one they're not alone.
- Offers support: Sometimes, a pet sympathy gift presented as an act of service, or a gift that offers food and nourishment, like a gift box, can provide additional support to your friend or family member during their time of need.
Just remember, before shopping for the ultimate remembrance gift, it's important to think about the person you'll be giving the present to. While many people find comfort in a gift such as a bouquet of sympathy flowers, others might find it difficult to receive gifts immediately, as they can act as a constant physical reminder of the loss.
Make sure you approach the situation with sensitivity and empathy. Choose a gift that's heartfelt, thoughtful, and in tune with what you know about your loved one.
How Can I Choose the Right Gift?
Choosing the right pet memorial or dog sympathy gift can be challenging. It's important to consider what kind of gifts will comfort and soothe your loved ones, and which might cause additional pain (even unintentionally).
Start by considering the person's personality and preferences. Don't just look for a gift just any pet lover would appreciate. Instead, ask yourself what the person will consider meaningful.
For instance, a personalized cup with a picture of their dog's face might be a great idea if you're buying a gift for a sentimental family member.
You could even tailor your gift around the pet’s personality and how it affected your friend's life. If you're giving a gift to a pet parent who has recently lost a service dog, consider donating to the foundation responsible for training the pet. Likewise, if your friend's dog was known for being obsessed with walks to the park, you could purchase a personalized plaque to be displayed in their favorite location.
A few other things to keep in mind when you're selecting the perfect pet memorial gifts include:
Getting timing right for a sympathy gift can be difficult. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is send a card and a gift as soon as you hear about the pet's passing, so you can show your support when your friend is most in need. Other times, giving a gift too quickly might be upsetting. For instance, giving your family member a personalized urn for their dog's ashes on the day they pass away might be too overwhelming.
The more unique and specific the sympathy gift is to your friend or loved one, the more meaning it will convey. For instance, if your friend used to spend afternoons playing with their beloved dog in the garden, commissioning a pet memorial stone they can place in the yard might be a thoughtful gift.
Choose a gift that's respectful of the grieving process your friend is going through. Whatever you do, don't get a gift that's lighthearted or humorous, even if, in other situations, it might make your friend smile. Avoid trying to "replace the dog" by offering up the option to adopt another puppy or pet. Allow your loved one to grieve in their own time.
Perhaps most importantly, remember that a gift shouldn't be an alternative to providing consistent support and compassion. Even if you get the best pet memorial gift possible for the person you care about, few things will be more important to them than knowing you're there to help.
How Do You Tell a Pet Parent You're Sorry for Their Loss?
Before you ask where to start, it might be worth considering how you will express your sorrow for the pet’s passing. Knowing what to say, whether interacting with your loved one face-to-face, or sending a card to commemorate their lost pet, can be extremely important. Meaningful, personalized messages are key when you want to truly show how much you care.
Here are some other top tips you can use when writing a sympathy card or message:
Be empathetic and kind
Express your condolences in heartfelt, genuine terms. Express how sorry you are for your loved one's loss, and share your understanding of how much the animal meant to that person. While you can mention how you went through something similar when losing a pet of your own, remember to stay focused on your loved one's grief. If appropriate, share a personal memory of the pet.
As tempting as it might be to write messages about the "rainbow bridge" and how your friend's dog is now in a better place, these sentiments rarely have the right impact. Though you might say them with good intentions, these statements can often feel empty to people suffering from grief.
Show your support
Remind your loved one that you're there for them during this difficult time. Let them know you'll be there to talk with them, reminisce over great memories together, and even just be a shoulder to cry on whenever they're ready. You can even offer to help with more practical tasks during this time, such as running errands.
Remember, choosing the right sympathy card can be important too. Think about the message you want to send and the personality of the person you will write to. For example, a simple card with a paw print on it could be an ideal choice for a more minimalistic person.
Others might prefer flowery cards which include a carefully chosen verse or poem. If you want to add something meaningful, you can find some comforting quotes about losing a pet online to help you personalize your card to suit the recipient.
What really matters most is using this opportunity to show your loved one they're not alone during this difficult time.
What are the Most Common Pet Sympathy Gifts?
Unfortunately, our pets rarely live as long as we'd like them to. Even the most resilient pets will eventually pass away, leaving a hole in the lives of the pet owners left behind. Because of this, pet memorial gifts are relatively common and there are plenty of ways to commemorate the loss of a pet. Some great options include:
A Pet Sympathy Card
When written with care and compassion, a pet sympathy card can be an amazing gift in its own right. It's an opportunity to share a heartfelt message with your loved one. Personalized cards can be particularly impactful. For instance, you could create a card with a printed paw print taken from the dog or a picture of the dog and its owner on the front, so your loved one can keep it forever.
Pet Memorial Jewelry
Memorial jewelry is another common and popular pet loss gift. When choosing a piece of jewelry, think carefully about what your loved one will most likely wear. For instance, you might opt for a simple necklace with a paw print and the dog's name for someone who doesn't like flashy accessories. Some specialist companies can work with you to infuse some of the dog's fur or ashes into a gem, which can be placed on a bracket or in a locket.
Pet Memorial Frames
A framed canvas or picture can give your loved one a way to reflect on the wonderful moments they spent with their furry friend. Choose a picture of your loved one and their pet and place it in a frame engraved with the dog's name. You can even include a special message, or an anecdote on the back of the frame, sharing your memories from the day the photo was taken.
Personalized Pet Urns
An urn to store the pet’s ashes could be a thoughtful gift, but it’s also very personal. Before choosing to give this gift, make sure it would be well-received. Urns can be personalized with a message or the dog's name, or have other decorative elements like paw prints.
Flowers and Bouquets
A bouquet of flowers is an affordable gift to commemorate the loss of a pet. You can customize this gift in various ways to make it more meaningful. For instance, present the flowers in a vase decorated with a paw print or embellished with the pet’s name. You can also choose flowers with a special memory attached, like daisies, for when your friend took their pet walking through daisy fields.
What are the Most Sentimental Pet-Centered Sympathy Gifts?
As mentioned above, sentiment and meaning are crucial when choosing the right sympathy gift. A pet memorial gift should highlight your compassion and understanding of your friend and their relationship with their dog.
Here are a few of the most sentimental gifts you can consider:
A keepsake box can be filled with items such as the dog's favorite toy or ball, a few of their favorite treats, and a message you've written about the memories you shared. You can even include a tuft of fur (if you have one from a groomer) and some photographs.
Pet memorial stone
A pet memorial stone can be a wonderful, long-lasting gift for a pet lover. This kind of sympathy gift can be particularly appealing to someone who spent a lot of their time with their pet in their garden. You can even get stones which include sections for holding ashes or urns. In some cases, you might even be able to pay for a plaque or a stone to be placed in a park or a public location the pet used to enjoy visiting.
Sometimes, the best pet sympathy gifts aren't physical items but a gesture. You can donate to a charity in the pet’s name, or choose a non-profit relevant to them and their owner. You might choose to donate to a pet rescue or rehoming center. If your friend or loved one adopted their pet from a specific charity, you could donate to them in their honor.
If you have photos of your loved one and their pet, arrange them into a book with a few hand-written notes and anecdotes. You can even include other fun things, like poems about the specific breed.
Customized Plush Animal
It might seem strange, but having a stuffed animal around that resembles a lost pet can be extremely comforting. It offers your friend or loved one a chance to cuddle the animal they miss so dearly from time to time. Like many pet sympathy gifts, it's often possible to have these items customized to make them specific to the pet in question. For instance, you can embroider the animal's name on its paw.
What are Unique Sympathy Gifts?
While common sentimental gifts can be a wonderful way to show how much you care about your loved one, you may find yourself searching for something a little more unique. If you have a special relationship with the person you're giving the pet sympathy gift to, it's worth thinking outside the box. Just remember, unique gifts can be a little harder to get right.
You'll need to consider your relationship with the person in question and their preferences to ensure you choose the perfect gift. Here are some great options to inspire you:
A pet portrait, hand-made by a local artist or created by a service online, can be an excellent and highly sentimental gift. Commission a friend or favorite artist to do the job. Or work with a company to produce a piece of wall art that matches your loved one's interior décor style. Most artists will be happy to work from photographs, and can even customize the portrait however you choose.
As mentioned above, jewelry can now be designed to include a small portion of a pet's ashes encased in glass. You will of course need to get permission from your loved one to take a portion of the ashes to send to the right company for this. This kind of gift can be a great way to ensure your friend or family member can keep their pet close forever.
Sometimes, the best sympathy gifts don't focus on the loss of the pet but on supporting your loved one after they're gone. A self-care gift basket brimming with nourishing comfort foods can be extremely useful during a difficult time. You can personalize the gift with your own special messages and a few extra bonus items to help your loved one relax during this difficult time, such as a pair of fluffy socks or slippers.
Memorial Wind Chimes
A pet memorial wind chime can be a surprisingly popular gift for people dealing with the loss of a furry friend. Often, after a pet passes, a house and garden can become very quiet places. A wind chime personalized with the name of the dog and a heartfelt message can be a warming and welcoming addition to the home. It's also a great way to remind your loved one of their companions with soothing sounds.
Many pets are huge lovers of the outdoor world, so what better way to honor them than with a plant or memorial tree? Giving your friend or family member a plant to look after during the grieving process can be an excellent way to take their mind off their loss. It's also a fantastic and lasting way to remember the pet’s life and legacy.
How Can I Make My Own Dog Sympathy Gift?
If you're struggling to find the perfect personalized gift for your friend or loved one, or you're having a hard time finding a meaningful gift that matches your budget, you could consider taking the DIY route. Making your own pet memorial or pet loss gift can be another great way to show how much you care, particularly when you put time and effort into it.
If you're going to be making a pet loss sympathy gift yourself, make sure you:
Put time and effort into it
Just like if you were making an anniversary gift for your spouse from scratch, making a sympathy gift means dedicating time and effort to creating the item. Don't just throw something together at the last minute.
The more time and effort you put into creating the perfect gift, the more likely your effort will shine through. Something heartfelt will have a lot more meaning for your loved one.
Choose the right style of gift
Think about your skills and what you feel comfortable doing. For instance, you might create a cross-stitch canvas your friend can hang on their wall or hand-paint a mug.
If you're not particularly crafty, you could purchase a beautiful box and use it to store lots of items you've carefully chosen related to the pet. You can fill the box with photos, toys, and other beautiful mementos without spending a fortune.
Tailor it to your loved one
Remember, all of the best gifts are personalized. With that in mind, think carefully about what your family member or friend might like to receive most. For homebodies who love decorating their house, a personalized pillow you've made yourself could be a wonderfully comforting gift.
If you know your loved one used to spend evenings snuggled up with their pet on the sofa, you could even look into creating a pet memorial quilt. If your friend allows, it might even be possible to make a patchwork quilt using some of the dog's old blankets and toys.
Spoonful of Comfort Can Help
Losing a pet is one of the most painful experiences any pet owner can have. Dealing with the loss of a beloved pet can feel just as gut-wrenching and overwhelming as losing a family member. When someone you love loses a pet, the best thing you can do is be there for them. Showing your support, offering your sympathy, and even giving your friend a shoulder to cry on goes a long way.
Ultimately, the best pet sympathy gift will be one that shows your compassion, is meaningful to the recipient, and helps them to feel comforted in their time of need.
At Spoonful of Comfort, we offer a variety of thoughtful gift options to show your love and support. Our comforting pet sympathy care package is the perfect sympathy gift for a grieving friend. Get in touch today to find out more.