When a friend loses a pet, often the best way to show someone you care is through a sympathy card. You may or may not know them well enough to pick up the phone, but one gesture which is always appreciated is receiving a nice card with a loving note.
Nowadays it is common-place to send an e-Card. That is a card which is emailed to someone. The advantage to eCards are they are instant, can feature a short video and have nice music in the background. Some can also be personalised. They can also be sent for free, which is always nice.
However some senders can get worried around protocol. Is there a certain way to do things? Any set rules I should know about?
Although it is highly unlikely that anything you as a sensible caring person could do which may cause offence in these circumstances, with the thought and actions of actually sending the cards outweighing anything you may do that may be considered wrong, I will still outline some of the consideration for you here, just to stop you worrying if nothing else.
Do it now! That’s my best suggestion. As a dog who has passed and can still see his owners I know how much these cards meant to them. And if you delay, you’ll forget, you know you will. I don’t think you can ever send them to early but if you forget it won’t look good, despite your best intentions. Excuses just won’t cut it I’m afraid.
And send the card even if you are in contact with them. It means so much, shows them you thought about them when you weren’t with them, and is a nice reminder when they see you card on the mantelpiece, hopefully with many others.
Can it ever be too late to send a card? I guess so, it would be a little strange to send one years after passing. If its’ weeks or a few months, go for it. After that you have probably missed the boat. However, if you’re not sure, just send it. Its better to send and be a little late than forget and possibly make it appear you don’t care, especially when it is so easy to send cards and e-cards nowadays.
It may also be worth considering sending another card on the first anniversary, a maybe other key dates like futher anniversaries, birthdays or dates of passing. Again, with eCards being free, just those few minutes of sending a card can bring a smile to someone you care for who may be having a bad day. Get the date(s) in the diary and get it done.
WHAT ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA OR TEXTING?
Some people are completely against this idea. You have to use your common sense here. If yu were close to the person then it makes sense to say something when you see them or pick up the phone and say something. Then send one to follow up.
If you don’t know the person very well then I think it’s perfectly fine to send a text, an e-card or share a comment on social media. The world is much more advanced now. Rainbow Bridge Online thrives through Instagram and it’s whole community is based on this social media platform and it is gaining in popularity every day. How many people post pictures of their animals online now, and many then go on to announce their passing here too. Wouldn’t it be rude not to acknowledge this devastating event at this time?
E-cards are now very easy to send with many websites offering this service. Most are also free of charge. I have set up my own eCard website in partnership with 123greetings.com so that you can quickly and easily send eCards for free to those who have lost pets recently, as well as a whole range of other life events should you wish t browse the site further.
HOW MUCH SUPPORT SHOULD I OFFER THEM?
A very personal question which only you can really answer. It all depends on how well you knew them and how much support you think they would accept from you. A helping hand may well be needed at such a time, but don’t be offended if they say no – they may not want to open up right now as they deal with the grief, or they may have a close friend or family member who is doing a great job looking after them already.
Offering a second or even third time may be a good idea as it is often accepted in the follow up when they have had a chance to consider your gesture, it also takes away any guilt of the person accepting as it shows you were serious in your offer and would be keen to help.
Just make sure you follow through – now is not a good time to let them down and not be there.
ANYTHING ELSE I CAN DO AS WELL OR INSTEAD?
Send some flowers. In addition to the card. Yes, you will get a small note with the flowers but send a card as well. You can now find some websites who offer a fantastic range of flowers and appropriate gifts which you can send around the world after just a few clicks at an affordable price. The best I have found it 1800Flowers who can even complete the order on the same day.
As 1800Flowers say on their website, “show a loving friend or family grieving the loss of a pet that you are thinking about them with one of their pet memorial items. From pet sympathy flowers to pet plaques for the loss of a dog, cat, bird or any other beloved furry friend, your thoughtful gesture will bring light during this dark time”.
I couldn’t agree more.