A few weeks ago, I lost my beloved companion dog of 14 years.  Her name was Claire, and I called her my “sweet stubborn soul mate.” Given the choice, she would not let me out of her sight, and her absence created a huge empty space in my life, as well as my heart. With her passing, friends and family gathered around to console me and my husband. The last time a dearly-loved pet of my died was pre-Facebook… this time, the immediate outpouring of support and kindness was almost overwhelming. Some of their letters touched me so deeply. When my friends and family’s pets have died, I always feel tongue-tied. What could I possibly say or write to someone that has lost their fur kid?  So I thought I would share three of the incredible condolence gestures I received. Please feel free to copy them, edit them, use them in any way that might help you reach out to someone suffering a loss of their pet.

A pet condolence letter…

“Hi Jennifer- I will call you this afternoon.  I am just catching up on emails and I see that Claire passed away. No one can understand the special bond you had with each other, but having had similar bonds with a few soul mates in my life, I can share these thoughts. Claire is free- free from any pain or suffering.  She is with you and around you- in your heart.  After so much care that you gave to her, It is you who now needs care.  I’m sure you know that only time will heal your pain, and all that will remain is every bit of the love you have and had for Claire, and that she had and has for you.  You are an angel for the animals.  You help so many helpless animals in so many ways, indirectly and directly.  Claire won the lottery of all lotteries to have met you, and I’m sure you feel the same way about her.  We love you and support you.”

A poem written about Claire….

I am so sorry and wanted to express my condolences in the form of a poem that I wrote or I should say, that I channeled. I feel it came as a message to me from my angel dogs who have crossed over. 

If you wake up one day
To find me gone
It will be cause my time has finally come

But please dont be afriad 
That you’ll never see me again

And please promise you’ll have the strength to carry on

Because I’m always gonna love you
Let your heart be open wide

Just whisper my name and say the words I love you
and I promise I’ll always be right my your side 
And know I’m always gonna love you
Though the tears may fall from your eyes 
You will see me again at the bridge
where the rainbow ends
and until that time my spirit will be your guide.

Light a candle. See it glow
Plant a flowering tree for me and watch it grow
I will see you again at the bridge where the rainbow ends
and when you look at them I want you to know

I’ll be there in the flame cause my spirit remains

And when you look at them I want you to know

That I’m always gonna love you


– Periel Stanfield


A pet rescued in Claire’s honor…

This gesture still brings tears to my eyes with its compassion and generosity. A coworker told me she would like to save a dog in Claire’s honor, to foster a dog who’s time was up at a local animal shelter. We went together to the shelter and I helped her pick an adorable little dog as she is so caring she wants to take them all home! He happened to be the same golden color and same as Claire when I rescued her — though that’s where the resemblance ends! He is playful, scruffy, kid- and dog-friendly, and once their resident cat has established who was boss, he fit right in to their home, and will make his future adoptive home an amazing pet, just like Claire was for me.

The Claire Fund

My family contacted a local rescue organization that I volunteer for, and together they created a special “fund” that my friends and Claire fans could donate to. The funds would enable the rescue to save another little dog from the shelter. It just so happened that a plea went out from shelter volunteers for a little dog who’s leg was badly injured. The fund (and other generous souls) helped the rescue be able to save her life and get her the surgery she needed so she could run, play, jump, and get adopted.


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