If your pet has died or gone missing, you may feel like you have things you wish you could say to them.
One of the brilliant things about our pets is that they’re good listeners. When they’re no longer here with us, it can feel strange not having them to talk to anymore.
Something that can really help is to write a letter to your pet, telling them all the thoughts and feelings you’re having.
Things you could include in your letter to your pet
There isn’t a right or wrong way to write a letter to your pet, so you can say anything. Also, you don’t just have to write one letter. You can write to your pet whenever you feel like talking to them.
To help you get started, here are a few ideas.
Tell your pet how much fun you had with them
Can you think about a time when your pet really made you laugh or you did something special together? Try writing about your favourite memory or the favourite things you did together every day.
Tell your pet how they made you feel
Did they make you feel safe, calm or loved? Did you see them as one of your best friends or a member of your family? You could write all about those feelings in your letter.
Describe the best thing about your pet
Because you lived with your pet, you knew all the things about them that made them special, even what they were like when they were sleeping or eating.
In your letter to your pet, you could tell them what you thought was the best thing about them. We know it can be really hard to pick just one thing, so how about writing a list of all of your favourite things?
What you miss about your pet
Your letter to your pet could be a good place to talk about what it is you miss about them. Maybe you miss walks with your dog or your cat falling asleep on your bed at night. Maybe you had a guinea pig and you miss the sound of them “wheeking” for food every time you open the fridge.
Again, there’s no right thing to say. All that matters is how you’re feeling.
If your pet was here now, what do you wish they were doing?
If your pet could be here with you right now, what would they be doing? What would you wish for them? What did they like to do when they were happy?
You could share those wishes in your letter.
Some prompts to help you write
If you’re still not sure what to say in your letter, we’ve put together the start of some sentences for you.
Try picking one or two and seeing what you can say to your pet to finish the sentence:
- I want to say that…
- I miss you when…
- I want you to know that…
- I am feeling…
- You were…
- My favourite memory of you will always be…
Grief for a pet can cause us to have lots of different thoughts and feelings. It’s okay to talk about these in your letter, even if you feel angry or sad at the moment. The great thing about your pet was that they loved you whatever mood you were in and that will never change.
If you don’t enjoy writing letters
You may not have written many letters in your life, so writing a letter to your pet might feel strange and a bit too much like something you’d do at school. Some people love writing while others don’t!
You could try one of these activities instead as a way to share how you feel about your pet:
- Write a short poem
- Draw or paint a picture
- Create a comic book or graphic novel about your pet
- Keep a diary
- Make a photobook about your pet
When your letter is finished
If you do write a letter, what you do with it once it’s finished is up to you. You could put it in a memory box for your pet, seal it in an envelope and put it away somewhere special or even bury it in your favourite spot in the garden.
All that matters is that you are able to say whatever you want to say.
You could ask another member of your family (or a friend or teacher) to help you write the letter or read what you’ve written to them when your letter is finished. This can be a great way to get everyone talking about your pet and share happy memories together.
It’s okay to smile and laugh and be happy about your good times with your pet. We guarantee that they loved it when you were smiling and they wouldn’t want you to be sad.
If you do write a letter to your pet, we’d love to hear more about it. Feel free to leave a comment below to tell us what you included. Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support