It's never easy to deal with the loss of a loved one, and when that loved one is a pet it can be even more challenging. If you're an employer who wants to help their employees through this difficult time, here are some tips for coping with their grief:
What to Say
- Express your condolences.
- Ask how you can help.
- Ask how you can make them feel better.
- Explain what you have done to help your own pet when they died (e.g., "I know it's not the same, but my dog died last year and I took him for walks every day after work.").
Offer to Help
- Offer to help with home care. If an employee has lost their pet, they may have difficulty getting back into the swing of things at work. You can offer to pitch in and take over some of their responsibilities so that they have time to grieve in peace.
- Offer to help with memorials and adoptions. Pets are like family members for many people, which means that when one dies it's often difficult for others not only because they miss their beloved friend but also because they feel guilty about replacing him or her so quickly with another animal (even if he wasn't exactly old). Letting employees know that you understand this feeling helps them feel less isolated during this difficult time by letting them know that other people understand how hard this must be on them too!
- Offer counseling services through your company's health insurance plan (if applicable).
- Donate to a charity that supports pet loss.
- Offer to help with the arrangements.
- Offer to cook a meal or bring in food.
- Offer to take the employee's children for the day, if they have any and live nearby, or even just give them a break from having to be around their grieving parent so much during this difficult time
Humanize the Pet Loss
- Be supportive.
- Don't be afraid to talk about it.
- Don't be afraid to cry.
- Don't be afraid to get emotional, even if you're not a pet owner yourself--it's important for your employee to know that they can share their feelings with you without fear of judgment or stigma.
- If possible, offer time off from work so that employees can grieve in their own way and at their own pace; if this isn't feasible due to company policy or resources available, provide other forms of support such as extra time off (with pay), flexible scheduling options (such as working from home), or additional resources like counseling services that offer pet loss counseling sessions specifically tailored towards helping people cope with grief over losing an animal companion they loved dearly.
Reach Out to Others
When an employee is grieving the loss of a pet, it's important for them to know that you're there for them.
- Refer them to a support group: If your company has an employee assistance program (EAP), consider referring the employee in question to see someone from that program. An EAP counselor could help with grief counseling or provide other resources if needed.
- Encourage them to talk about it with friends and family: Grief is best shared with others who can empathize with what you're going through; encourage your employee to reach out to loved ones when they need reassurance that their feelings are normal and healthy rather than abnormal or unhealthy--and make sure those people know how much you appreciate their support!
- Refer them to a therapist: If all else fails, consider referring this person out of office hours so they can get some professional help coping with their loss
You can help your employees with pet loss by showing them that you care.
- Be there for them. If an employee has lost a pet, the last thing they want is to be alone in their grief. Make sure to give them space if they need it, but also be available if they want to talk about their feelings or how they're dealing with the sadness of losing their furry friend.
- Let them know that you're there for them in any way possible
We know it can be a difficult time for everyone involved but if you follow these tips and make sure that your company has resources available for those who need them then it will go a long way towards helping people cope with their emotions and move forward in life.