It feels like I’ve been signing a lot of sympathy cards at the cats-only boarding facility lately. As much as I hate to think about it, our pets just don’t live as long as we’d like them to. It’s a sad coincidence that we’ve had several guests pass away in relatively quick succession.
Sometimes, I don’t know what to say. I do my best to find something to love about each and every cat that comes through our doors. When I’m writing out the card, I try to remember some special moment I shared with the pet — some fond memory that will live on in my heart.
But sometimes, there’s only one thing I can think of to say: it’s not fair. For the amount of love and laughter they bring into our lives, pets deserve to live a hundred years or more. They deserve medals and parades and cookies and cuddles.
And then I think about being on the other side — recieving the sympathy card. After my dog Miko passed away, I did get a few sympathy cards. One from the vet’s office, one from my landlord, and one from a friend of my boyfriend at the time. I was very touched by each of them. I felt like the cards sent a few different messages: “I know you loved your dog,” “Your dog was a great companion and deserves to be honored,” and “I care about your pain.”
So if you’re struggling with something to say when a friend or family member loses a pet, think about what you’d want to hear. Would you want sympathy? Would you want to remember a funny memory? Would you want to be left alone with your grief?
Grief is different for everyone… but as the old saying goes, a burden shared is a burden lessened. A card or a few words might not heal the wound, but it might make the pain easier to bear.