BFF's dog died in tragic accident; how to best show sympathy/support?
February 23, 2018 3:33 AM   Subscribe

My best friend's ex accidentally ran over their beloved dog yesterday and she is devastated. I loved the dog as well and am heartbroken. He was just buried hours ago where he was killed. I'd love to do something nice to memorialize her dear pet and show sympathy and support. What are some thoughtful ideas, mefites? Thanks so much.
posted by colorproof to Human Relations (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
When my friends lose a pet we have a tradition of commissioning a portrait for each other from this Etsy artist. Her pricing is affordable and she does a terrific job.
posted by something something at 3:39 AM on February 23, 2018 [16 favorites]

In a wood near where I live, there is a footpath with a large, pale-coloured pebble at the side which catches your eye. When you get closer, you can see that it has been painted (acrylic I am guessing?) to say something about a dog for whom that path was a favourite walk, and the names of his human family. It is really touching, and must be something they can walk past and use to remember him by. It gives me deep happiness that the people who look after the land there haven't removed it.

Perhaps you could suggest doing this to your friend, find a nice rock and paint it together, then take it on one of the dog's favourite walks with it in a rucksack until you find a nice spot for it.
posted by greenish at 3:39 AM on February 23, 2018 [8 favorites]

When my friend's dog died, several of us donated to a dog-related non-profit and bought him flowers with a card from the non-profit attached.
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:49 AM on February 23, 2018 [4 favorites]

I donate to the Arbor Day Foundation when close friends lose their pets; they have a Trees for Pets Program where you can donate whatever amount you like and the foundation will send a certificate letting the person know what forest will be planting trees in memory of their pet. You can also skip the mailed certificate and print it yourself or email it to your friend.
posted by katinka-katinka at 4:50 AM on February 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

I give to the local no-kill shelter when friends or family lose a pet, and they send a lovely card to the person informing them that a donation has been made.

I am so sorry for your friend, that is horrible.
posted by mermayd at 5:43 AM on February 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

I love the donation idea. Also, you could write a letter detailing some of your favorite memories of the dog; a couple of people did this when my dog died and it was really nice.
posted by BibiRose at 5:49 AM on February 23, 2018 [7 favorites]

I really like the idea of getting a pet portrait made for them. There are many artists who do that on Etsy, and you may find someone with a style that somehow suits them and the dog. Very sorry for your friend's loss, that is heartbreaking.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 7:16 AM on February 23, 2018

I started doing the donation thing after picking it up from friends who did it for me. Many of the no-kill shelters will be delighted to send a little thank you card to your friend, and I found it really consoling.

(If there's a specific breed involved, I bet breed rescue societies would be glad to do the same thing.)
posted by modernhypatia at 8:19 AM on February 23, 2018

When our beloved family dog died I gave my dad Mary Oliver's Dog Songs. We both found it comforting:

Because of the dog's joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without dogs?
posted by rabbitbookworm at 8:39 AM on February 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

When my beloved (raised from the moment he was born, 19+ yo) Tiger kitty died, the thing that someone did for me was come over and sit with me and watch old Doctor Who. Honestly, it was just so helpful having someone else there so the silence wasn't quite so crushing.

Later on, the cat I adopted after Tiger met a sudden and wrenching end less than a year after I'd gotten him, and another friend gave me a beanie baby that looked like him, which I still have.

Hug your friend from me.
posted by sldownard at 10:03 AM on February 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

My utterly beloved dog died as the result of someone else's negligence. I was shattered. Shattered. But I was lucky to have in my life a lot of people who understood the bottomless depths of my grief. I received some really thoughtful gifts, but honestly the "gifts" that stick with me are these: The friend who texted me nearly every hour in the first days, telling me to hang on. The friend who made it her mission to e-mail me every single day that first year, about everything and nothing, just to be a reliable presence in my life. The friend who dropped what she was doing to fly out to be with me when my dog was in the ICU. The friend who helped me with the physically daunting task of burying him. The friend who sat and cried with me and understood that love is love, and that I loved him as much as I've ever loved anyone, and more, and validated my grief--because much of the world won't do that, and a person grieving a dog has a double burden of the grief itself and having to hide it, or protect it, or defend it from people who would disenfranchise it. So if you can find a way to be present to your friend in ways like this, it will be so much more meaningful than any memorial. (And I actually hated all the memorial type things, because that's what you do for someone who's dead, I just couldn't accept that he was.)
posted by HotToddy at 2:24 PM on February 23, 2018 [6 favorites]

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