Best condolence gift for the loss of a beloved pet?
August 9, 2022 10:57 AM   Subscribe

One of our good friends had to say an unexpected goodbye to her pup yesterday; we'd like to do something nice for her. Deets inside.

This same friend left a condolence gift of cookies in a cat-themed tote for us when we lost our beloved chubby cat in 2020. We were touched and were grateful for the gesture. We want to pay it forward for her too, as my partner was her regular dogsitter and she's just a really lovely person.

What gestures or gifts have you done for those who have lost their furry friend? We've let her know that if she needs anything to just ask. If it matters at all, she's unattached with no children.

Thanks so much in advance, y'all.
posted by Kitteh to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Did you take pictures of the dog? A little photo book can be very nice and doesn't cost too much to have printed these days.

Thank you for this kindness. People don't always appreciate how tough a loss of a pet can be.
posted by praemunire at 11:11 AM on August 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Some kind of consumable treat plus maybe a pair of nice standing or hanging photo frames would be lovely, and you could even spring for a gift card for photo printing from shutterfly or whatever drugstore is nearest them. I'm packing to move right now, and realizing as I pack them up that I want to have more photos of our (all now gone) pets put up next time.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:13 AM on August 9, 2022

Best answer: I think comfort food and a sweet note is a perfect token. If it's feasible for you, maybe also make a donation to an animal welfare/rescue organization in friend/pup's honor.
posted by obfuscation at 11:14 AM on August 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: when my cat died a few years back, my best friend sent me a small box of cookies from some internet site. that little bit of sweetness really helped, and now any time someone i know loses their pet, i send them cookies from Levain Bakery.

recently, a friend of mine lost her black lab, and coincidentally, a couple days later, i found this very cute cowdog print series from an artist. i picked out the black lab and gave it to her just the other day. she was very touched, but this might be a thing where you have to know the person's style.

also, as someone who has had a double whammy of grief in the last year, please please please don't wait for your friend to reach out to you. ask them out to dinner to try that new thai place, ask them to come over and watch a dumb movie, tell them you made too much lasagna and you need them to come over and help you eat it, invite them to a farmer's market. you can help them fill their lives with small amounts of joy in this way rather than waiting for them to reach out to you, which i can almost guarantee you they will not do.
posted by kerning at 11:14 AM on August 9, 2022 [6 favorites]

I found a beautiful vintage paint by numbers painting in a thrift shop, of the same breed of dog as my friend had lost a few months before. Etsy and eBay have lots of these. When I gave it to her, she gasped and burst into tears.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 11:36 AM on August 9, 2022

I wound up with sooooo many edible treats from friends (mostly babkas, plus a dozen giant cookies and a bunch of cheese) which was great because I was An Entire Mess and really didn't want to cook or eat. This is probably impractical, but my husband did me the huge kindness of cleaning dog-related stuff out of the living room so I could stand to leave the bedroom, which was a big undertaking because the dog required a lot of infrastructure by the end. And I'm very glad I splashed out for a memorial portrait, but if you want to go with that as a gift I'd research and find a few in your friend's preferred style and make the offer for a future portrait, rather than springing it on them. It kind of wrecked me when I got it, and I knew it was coming!
posted by babelfish at 11:53 AM on August 9, 2022

What I appreciated most were notes sharing memories of my dog. Some were things I had forgotten about that made me laugh at that difficult time.
posted by BibiRose at 12:11 PM on August 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I have some refrigerator magnets made with photos of our cats. They're pretty sweet. They are durable and don't take up much space.
posted by BrashTech at 12:12 PM on August 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

There are personalized gift boxes on Etsy for such an occasion. This seller has one that includes a nice plant and candle.
posted by Fuego at 12:22 PM on August 9, 2022

Our usual gift in this situation is a donation in their name to an animal charity (if possible, the one the pet was adopted from, or one we know the person is fond of) along with a card sharing some favorite memories (or just warm thoughts about our friends as pet parents, if we didn't know the pet well enough to have memories). Sometimes flowers depending on the person and situation.
posted by primethyme at 1:00 PM on August 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

Seconding babelfish. Removing the pup's personal effects (boxing them up for later) so that she doesn't have to deal with them would be an enormous relief, or at least it was when my mom did that for me. She may also have to deal with the remains -- picking them up from the vet's or crematory, arranging a gravesite, etc.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:06 PM on August 9, 2022

+1 to babelfish, when my older dog died, I took the younger dog to the dog park while my then-husband got rid of the older dog's stuff and cleaned the house. I think he also took the car to the car wash to get rid of her hair (Corgis shed a lot). That was really a kindness.

I have also donated to animal charities when a friend's pet has died.
posted by radioamy at 1:44 PM on August 9, 2022

This won't suit everyone but occasionally my son sends a random snapshot of the cat we shared (who really bonded to me) for 18 years. He died nearly 2 years ago so it's nice to know I'm not the only one thinking of him. One of my colleagues who never met Gordon randomly mentioned him on Facebook and I was so touched. I guess what I'm saying is no one gesture, but continuing to keep the memories alive.
posted by b33j at 5:21 PM on August 9, 2022

When our beloved cat passed away a friend got us a small cat statue as a memorial of sorts (it's this one actually). Even though the statue itself really isn't our style we love it and think fond memories of our furry friend when we see it. Your mileage may vary, but it was really nice to have a physical memorial object to feel like we weren't just forgetting our buddy and that he would, in a way, continue to be present in our lives.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 5:15 PM on August 10, 2022

« Older Using personal PC as my work computer &...   |   How do I RDP into an Azure VM? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.