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Old 03-27-2003, 07:08 PM
Lissa Lissa is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 10,581
Need Help Writing Sympathy Card (death of pet)

My husband and I play cards with a very nice couple who recently found out that both of their beloved dogs have cancer, one so badly that it's not expected to live for more than a month.

I feel absolutely terrible for them. My dog is my "baby," and I can't imagine my grief in losing her. I know they feel the same way about their dogs, and must be in tremendous pain right now.

I want to send them a "Thinking of You" card expressing my sympathy, but am having a lot of trouble with the wording.

Any suggestions?
Old 03-27-2003, 08:34 PM
ioioio ioioio is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: stuck inside a mobile
Posts: 3,461
You can probably find a "Thinking of You" card that has an appropriate sentiment -- many of them have a generic message such as "thinking of you in this difficult time". Then add something short and simple, like "We were very sorry to hear that your doggies are so sick. Our thoughts and best wishes are with you."
Old 03-27-2003, 08:55 PM
The Punkyova The Punkyova is offline
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 818
Lissa, I think Iainaf (lainaf?) is right on this one. Simple, short expressions are the best. Too many people are of the "It's only a dog" mentality. Your friends will be glad to know that someone else understands that they are grieving.
Old 03-27-2003, 09:04 PM
Ashkicker Ashkicker is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: between here & there
Posts: 709
I hate to hear that. My dogs are my babies and I would be heartbroken as well. I am terrible with words. But just letting them know you are thinking of them at this time of grief should suffice. I would just keep it simple. When the time comes they may want to do an online pet tribute to their beloved pet such as we did with our pet bird that passed away. They have lots of online support and they do have cards that you can e-mail that say it all.
Old 03-27-2003, 10:54 PM
Stephi Stephi is offline
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 490
I lost my dog in October, and it was just heartbreaking. My heart truly goes out to them.

As for words, well, I'm terrible at finding the right wording, so I'm afraid I can't help you there. I would agree with what The Punkyova said though, probably short simply wishes are the best.
Old 03-27-2003, 11:26 PM
slice slice is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 201
I just dealt with the exact same situation a few weeks ago. I wrote my friends a note saying that I knew their dogs were loved so much and had given so much love in return and that they had my sincerest sympathy during what I knew was a difficult time. When one of their dogs had to be put down just a few days later, I made a small donation to the ASPCA in memory of her. (They will send the owners a card saying that you have made a donation in memory of their pet.) I'm sure no matter what you write, your friends will appreciate that you care and understand.
Old 03-27-2003, 11:30 PM
Violet Violet is offline
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 3,231
Re: Need Help Writing Sympathy Card (death of pet)

This topic chokes me up because it refreshes my last days with my best friend, a wonderful howling Alaskan Malamute. I notice commercial sympathy cards for the loss of pets now, but never read any.
Old 03-28-2003, 01:34 AM
voguevixen voguevixen is offline
Join Date: May 1999
Location: San Leandro, CA USA
Posts: 6,302
I hate to mention it, but Hallmark actually makes a "death of pet" sympathy card. It's with the rest of the Sympathy cards (though you might have to go to a store with a larger selection to find it.)
Old 03-28-2003, 04:49 AM
Baker Baker is offline
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I've actually seen several different commercial pet cards and most were, surprisingly, tasteful. One store had two cards, one for if your pet just died, the other for if you had had to have it euthanized. The latter addressed, in delicate language, the guilt issue some folks might feel and said how "the last act you did for your pet was the most loving."
Old 03-28-2003, 05:22 AM
CrazyCatLady CrazyCatLady is offline
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 8,223
We send out far more sympathy cards than I care to think about for situations like this, and I agree that short and simple is far better. (W have preprinted cards, but always write something personal in them.) There's no need to rhapsodize on about how wonderful her dogs are right now. Right now it would probably just upset her more. Just let her know that you know how she hurts, and that you're thinking about her.

That's really all most people want or need at a time like this. I'm always surprised at the number of people who call the clinic and tell us how much it helped them to get our card and know that somebody understood.

If you have that kind of relationship with this lady and her dogs, you might want to send her a letter a few months after they pass, sharing your thoughts and memories of each animal. By then the pain won't be as raw, and she'll be able to enjoy sharing those memorires with you.
Old 03-28-2003, 06:33 AM
Beech Beech is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: At the End of the Lane GB
Posts: 118
It really matters not what you say, but do send them a card.

We recently lost one of our dogs with a viral infection. She was 8 years old and was only ill for only 20 hours before she died, very unexpectedly at the vets, so we were not even with her when it happened.

The lost we both felt was indiscribable, we've both had dogs all our lives, and one has to accept the joys of pet ownership will always have this downside, but Cassie was such a special animal, and we have had to also contend with our other dog who was completely devistated.

Our pain was eased, much more than you can imagine, by the cards we received from freinds and neighbours, and also the vet that tried to save her. I say again, please let them your thoughts are with them.
Old 03-28-2003, 08:43 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Over by dere
Posts: 27,023
I just received a card for my two cats who died 2 1/2 weeks apart. They have them at Hallmark. My vet sends a card after he puts a kitty down for us. It really makes me feel better.
Old 03-29-2003, 08:28 AM
summerbreeze summerbreeze is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 320
Hallmark makes several sympathy cards for pets -- for both death & illness. We send them often. We lost an elderly Sheltie in September; had a good experience having one of our Cockers treated for brain cancer, now give memorials to that veterinary hospital.

A good friend called in tears several months ago, sure her very elderly poodle wouldn't make it thru another day. I bought a card -- it's still unmailed. BooBoo is thriving, tho he does wear Pampers.

It's important to affirm the importance of pets in our lives. Although I lost a son who was in the prime of life, and nothing can remotely compare to that, I understand, and will never denigrate, the grief over the loss of a pet.
Old 03-29-2003, 09:18 AM
CBCD CBCD is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: The Jersey Shore
Posts: 1,220
Why not send a handwritten note that simply says what you think and feel. Something simple such as 'I was very sorry to hear your dog is sick. I know how much he/she means to you'

A little genuine feeling goes a long, long way. Your friends will appreciate your kindness and concern.
Old 03-29-2003, 12:33 PM
Lissa Lissa is offline
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 10,581
Originally posted by The Punkyova
Lissa, I think Iainaf (lainaf?) is right on this one. Simple, short expressions are the best. Too many people are of the "It's only a dog" mentality. Your friends will be glad to know that someone else understands that they are grieving.
The next time I hear "It's just a dog," I'm going to kick that person in the shinns.

Once, I was at work and got a call about an emergency with my dog. My boss said he'd come in and work for me so I could leave, but groused "It's just a dog. You can just get a new one."

I got angrier than I probably should have. His lover had died less than a year ago in a car accident, and I said to him, "How would YOU feel if someone said to you that Mike was just a person. There's six billion more out there. Just go get yourself a new one."

For a moment, his eyes flared in anger, but then he said, "I'm sorry. I guess you're right. Love is love."

Damn straight! I don't care if the pet you love is an earthworm. Species has no bearing on grief at loss. I don't wish to insult someone grieving at the loss of a child by comparing their pain to that of losing a pet, the hurt and sorrow are real and valid and can sometimes be just as powerful.

Thanks, guys, for all of your suggestions. I'm going to Hallmark today.
Old 03-29-2003, 02:39 PM
romansperson romansperson is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 4,169
You might want to consider a memorial gift after the pet has died, too. Our two favorites are the Morris Animal Foundation (which does research on animal diseases and has a lot of cancer studies ongoing), and Treegivers. Treegivers plants a memorial tree in the state of the people you are sending it to, and sends them a lovely certificate.


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