On a Sunday in June, my granddaughter Anna was walking her dog on a country road and a truck hit her pet, Inky. Inky died. My granddaughter was grieving the death of a pet and I knew that she needed comfort.
Immediately when I heard the news, I wrote her a text saying how sorry I was that her special “Inky” had died. But not all people are as understanding about the loss of a pet. As the Humane Society points out, it’s natural for people to feel sorrow when a person they love dies, but unfortunately, not everyone understands that the loss is just as painful when a companion animal dies. Some people might even think, what’s the big deal? They “only” lost a pet.
[Related: Tips for Comforting a Child Whose Pet Died]
The Humane Society’s reference page Coping with the Death of Your Pet explains that, “people love their pets and consider them members of their family. Caregivers celebrate their pets’ birthdays, confide in their animals and carry pictures of them in their wallets. So, when [a person’s] beloved pet dies, it’s not unusual [for them] to feel overwhelmed by the intensity of [their] sorrow.”
For this reason, I felt that I wanted to do more than just sent a text to Anna. I prayed for God to show me how else I might care for Anna in her grief. Several ideas emerged in my mind. One was to contact my sister Loretta (Anna’s aunt) and Debbie and Julie, cousins of Anna. All three of these individuals are dog lovers. I sent them the following text:
“Anna’s dog, Inky, was killed last night by a truck! Anna was walking him on the road. This is very hard. If you wish you can text her at _________. Please include her in your prayers! Thanks!”
They all responded to Anna, because they all remembered what it was like to lose a beloved pet.
Anna was very grateful for their kindness. And I was thankful that God placed on my heart that simple act of caring: drawing on the love from other family members who could support a child grieving the death of a pet.