Is It Okay to Grieve Over a Lost Pet?

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Is It Okay to Grieve Over a Lost Pet?

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Recently my friend Jenny lost her cat, Moe, after six years. I could tell the loss was great as she shared memories of her beloved cat. It reminded me of when we lost our family dog, Jo Jo. He had been a part of our family for over 10 years.

Joe was such a loving dog, and all he wanted to do was protect and love us. He loved his car rides. If you took him to the river, it was all over, as that is where he wanted to stay. Last spring we had to put him down, and I still feel a great sense of sadness when I think of him.

Animals bring out a special tenderness in humans. They are so loyal and just want to please. God created animals for our good and even for our health. Studies have shown that owning a pet can improve your health!

We love our pets so much that we spare no expense to care for them. Last year, Americans spent over $58 billion on their pets.

How does God feel about animals, and does He understand our love for them? Psalm 145:9 says, "The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all His creation." Proverbs 12:10 states, "The godly are concerned for the welfare of their animals, but even the kindness of the wicked is cruel."

Matthew 10:29-30 clearly shows that God even knows when a sparrow falls. God also provides food for them (Psalm 104:14). Jesus said: "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matthew 6:26).

Sometimes we feel like we are forced to mourn the loss alone, since we feel it's not as important a loss as some others. Grief is never easy, no matter what you lose in life. Your pet was your companion. They even feel kind of like children to us. While losing a pet is nothing to be compared with losing a human, it is still a painful loss. I still miss our Jo Jo, and it has been over a year now.

So what should our response be when we lose a pet? How can we help others who lose a pet?

1. Be compassionate to yourself and to others when it comes to a loss.

2. Always ask God for love and compassion for yourself and for others who have lost a pet.

3. Never make light of a person's grief over the loss of a pet.

4. Take the time to send them a note or card. This helps validate their loss and shows that someone understands and cares.

5. Don't feel guilty because you are grieving over your pet. Realize it will take time. Give yourself time to grieve. It's okay to hurt over the death of your beloved pet. Don't compare your loss to that of losing a human being. It is different and unique.

6. If talking to someone who lost a pet, don't say, "Why don't you get another pet?" Let them come to that decision on their own.

Remember Psalm 147:3: "He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds." Allow yourself time to grieve, because it is okay.


  • Destain

    Thank you!

  • Janet Treadway

    You have no idea of the timing of your kindness. I am faced this week of saying good-bye to my Reuben of 17 years. I had totally forgot about this article until you sent your comment. It was like it was encouragement sent from God and great reminder for me. God inspired you to send this comment for my encouragement so thank you.

  • rebeccakrueger1975

    Where does our beloved pets go when ya have to put them to sleep to end the pain?

  • Skip Miller

    Hello Rebecca, Over the 50 years that my wife and i have had pets, we have thought a bit about your question and have come to a somewhat surprising conclusion. (But first of all, reread Janet's article. It is properly empathetic.) God created some animals to be pets (as well as working animals.) God knew what He was doing. Have you ever had more than one dog that you liked? If you live long enough you will ! God is creator but He is not quite finished creating. Right now He is creating Holy , Righteous character in some. During the coming Millennium He will still be working with those who need that work. Although there are good dog breeders now, don't you think they could be even better with some "Godly" insight? So what I am saying is we have missed some of our pets who have gone the way of all the earth. But with some very real assistance from the creator, we actually think, if we have some extra time, we just might be able to come up with a composite dog that incorporated the best aspects of the 5 dogs my wife and I enjoyed together. All physical things grow old and die but only people are to be resurrected.

  • Berowe

    Pets, as far as we know, just die. There is nothing in scripture that hints at anything different.

  • stephencummings

    I too had to put down my dog 11 years ago. When I came out of the vet clinic, I realized that God too would felt this way when He makes judgement on the wicked and unrepented.For it is said in Ezekiel 18:32 "For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone,declares the Sovereign Lord.Repent and live,"(niv) God loves us all, even the wicked and unrepented. It's the sin that is in them that He hates because they are suffering from it so much that God has no choice but to put them down.That"s why He strongly urge us to repent.

  • Janet Treadway
    The above photo is my son kissing our Jo Jo good bye before he was put down. It was so merciful though. The vet did it in such a kind way. Thank you so much for sharing. One day we will never have to say good-bye to anyone and that includes our beloved pets.
  • EvanToledo
    There's an old saying that goes something like: "Knowing the love, companionship and interaction with a pet proves there is a God." Animals certainly can be wonderful companions--so much so that God inspired prophecies that in the Millenium ALL animals will have a sweet and loving nature. I've discussed loss of beloved pets with our Pastor in my area, and he agrees with my "speculation" that in God's Kingdom we will have an amount of God-power and it might be possible to bring back our pets. Again, this is purely speculation, but we do know God has "pets" in the form of living creatures at His Throne mentioned in various Scriptures. We also know there is a "spirit" in BOTH man and animal as mentioned in Ecclesiastes 3:21--the animal's spirit returns to the earth at death--could that spirit be recalled by a Member of God's Family? The genuine love we give and receive from our pets makes me think the answer is YES to that question.
  • Frank1

    I have also felt the same way about future Kingdom times to come as you have expressed here pertaing to our animal friends. I am always reminded of Jesus' words that "ALL things are possible with God". (Matt.19:26). A better translation of Ecc.3:21 would be;-(International Standard Version)
    "Who knows whether the spirit of human beings ascends, and whether the spirit of animals descends to the earth"? I had to put to sleep my beloved basset a few days ago,- such a beautiful and loving creature and friend. I would say Part 2 of the 'all things are possible with God' promise would be;- "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won't be death anymore. There won't be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared." (Rev.21:4)

  • truthseeker-

    "No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.~ “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” ~ There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? ~
    Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. ~And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. ~ So be it. (When our eyes were opened and the truth was revealed to us, my husband who was a pastor, was ridiculed and removed from our Sunday morning church ministry, losing our income, retirement, insurance, and all but two friends. We established a fellowship but eventually all those who came to know the truth & became members of the true church of God were scattered & we are a few now. Today we lost our smallest angel, our blue heeler Luke ....he fell thru the ice in a frozen river & swam in circles til he drowned. We are thankful he didn't suffer long but are broken hearted. Please pray for us. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

  • ehernandez60
    Sadly, in my local congregation, there was a member who lost her beloved pet and was very sad about it. I, at the time didn't fill the loss or the connection the same way. A few years later, I lost my mother who was the backbone of the family, losing our father when I was young, she took the role as the head of the household working hard just to make ends meet for a family of five still under her care. The loss had hit me and my whole family hard. later that same year, we lost our pet Rottweiler, Hershey. She was a beautiful, and happy member of our family. We had her when she was just a puppy. I too had to put her down because of illness and age. When my son and I took her in, I began to weep as I removed the leash from her collar, as the clerk led her away. As I tried my best to hold in my tears, I realized how much Hershey brought so much happiness to our family, I also remembered about the women in our local congregation, and the sorrow she went through, and how I too could relate to her sorrow. So whether family members or family pets, it's not just the lost that grieves us, it's the happy times and happy memories we shared with that we miss and cry in these moments. Yes God loves all His creation, He made all His creation, for a purpose.
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