Monday, August 24, 2015

What to Say and Not Say When a Co-worker's Pet Dies

Photo credit: ** RCB ** / Foter / CC BY
It can be difficult to know what to say when a co-worker's pet dies or how much sympathy to express. Here are some tips:
  • Respect her or his loss, it may seem silly to you to get upset over the death of a pet, especially if you have none of your own. Speaking as a pet owner and general animal lover, the loss is very real. For people like us, a pet is a member of the family, sometimes our favorite family member.
  • Don't ever suggest that the bereaved just "get over it" or that he or she go and get a new cat or dog as a replacement. The bereaved may get another pet eventually, but either way he or she needs time to grieve.
  • If you feel comfortable doing so, buy a card for the owner's loss. Here's an example of something you can write:
    • "I'm so sorry for the recent loss of your pet. It's never easy losing a part of your family. My thoughts are with you."
  • Maybe let him or her know you're available to talk about their loss and offer to take him or her out for a cup of coffee, or surprise them with a small treat left at their desk with a small note.
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