How to respond when someone says that their dog has passed away

The death of a beloved canine, is a very real and traumatic experience, a member of the family is gone and the whole dynamic of the family changes. There are constant reminders and the family unit is broken, an integral part of the family is gone. Mourning the death of a pet follows the same process as mourning for a human and grieving for the pet is an important part of an families recovery. Not only has a canine family member died, in addition, there is the battle with guilt, as invariably a decision had to be made to euthanize due to intense suffering or incurable diseases.

It's going to happen sometime in your life that a colleague,family member or friend's beloved canine family member passes on. Now if you're a dog lover, you will understand the devastation and the loss that this person feels, however if you're one of those people who does not like/ or own a dog, you may not know what to say. Lets start with what _not_ to say.

1.Do not say, "Oh its just a dog" - To many people their dog is their child, treat the situation with the same sensitivity

2. "Can you buy another one/" - To many people their dog is their child, treat the situation with the same sensitivity. Each and every dog has its own unique personality and can never be replaced.

3. "Oh but you have so many other dogs!" - To many people their dog is their child, treat the situation with the same sensitivity

Here is what to say: Think of someone very close to you dying and keep that expression and all you need to say is sorry for your loss.Don't try to minimise, generalise, or try and make conversations about the time you crashed your whatever and how sad that made you feel or try and change the topic. Just say Sorry for your loss and move. The mourning person will know you don't understand, but it is a much better alternative than the 3 "what not to says".

In memory of Talia and Boris,
I know you're in heaven looking down and I know we will meet again.
xxx