Etiquette Hell

Etiquette School is in session! => The Ehell Guide to Never Behaving Badly => Topic started by: Black Delphinium on March 01, 2009, 03:00:14 PM

Title: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: Black Delphinium on March 01, 2009, 03:00:14 PM
Mourning is a deeply personal and subjective thing. Empathy and understanding are the best ways to support a friend or family member during their mourning.

Take your cues from the person who lost their pet. Listen when they feel like talking. Share stories and pictures from happier times if they wish to.


But, above all, never try to replace what they have lost, unless you have their complete consent. Only the person who has lost a pet has the right to decide when they are ready for a new pet, or if they will ever be ready.


 
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: Elpie on March 02, 2009, 12:02:33 PM
Also, it is rarely appreciated to hear, "I know EXACTLY how you feel" in any mourning situation, and/or listen to other tales of grief. Grief can be a very selfish emotion, so show your support the way you wished others had- offer to listen, cry with them, etc.

I would add that humor is usually not forbidden, except perhaps in the very early stages (dissent is welcome on this, as it is something I'm trying to figure out). Recalling how Fluffy's tounge would hang out of the side of his mouth when sleeping can be very appreciated.
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: MrsJWine on March 02, 2009, 12:08:05 PM
Some people think of animals as being on a par with humans; some people don't.  If you fall into the latter group, now is NOT the time to take a stand on your view of animals as "just animals".  No matter how silly you think it is that your friend thinks of his dog as a person with a soul, do not utter the words, "Well, at least it was just a dog and not your dad/aunt/kid/grandma."

In fact, "at least" should never be the start of a sentence to someone in mourning.  There is no "at least".  It's a horrible situation no matter how many "at leasts" you utter.
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: snowball's chance on March 03, 2009, 10:50:29 AM
Don't inquire or make comments re: rather the bereaved will/should/shouldn't get another pet right away, unless your opinion is asked.  Everyone grieves differently and there's no universal right or wrong time to get a new pet, if ever.
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: sparksals on March 03, 2009, 10:52:40 AM
Also, it is rarely appreciated to hear, "I know EXACTLY how you feel" in any mourning situation, and/or listen to other tales of grief. Grief can be a very selfish emotion, so show your support the way you wished others had- offer to listen, cry with them, etc.

I would add that humor is usually not forbidden, except perhaps in the very early stages (dissent is welcome on this, as it is something I'm trying to figure out). Recalling how Fluffy's tounge would hang out of the side of his mouth when sleeping can be very appreciated.

For me, it WOULD be helpful for someone to say they know how I feel.  I don't think it's as cut and dry as you say.  If one has experienced a similar loss, then I would be willing to hear their story so that I would know that someone relates to my feelings.  It's the acknowledgement, the validation of the feelings that is important to me.
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: demarco on March 03, 2009, 12:44:23 PM

 It's the acknowledgement, the validation of the feelings that is important to me.

ITA.  It would be comforting to me if someone told me about their loss of a pet as a means of letting me know they've been there and they understand my grief. 
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: wolfie on March 03, 2009, 01:12:08 PM
I understand where the PP was coming from. I like hearing \"I know how you feel... when I lost fluffy..\" and having them share their grief with me. But what I think the PP was referring to was the one -upper. The one who tries to show their grief was so much worse then yours - or who isn\'t trying to comfort but to grandstand about their own experiance.
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: Black Delphinium on March 03, 2009, 03:39:15 PM
I think that there is a difference between saying "I know exactly how you feel. When we had to put Ebony down..."

and saying "Putting Ebony down was one of the hardest things we ever had to do. I understand and I'm so sorry."


I agree. There is a big difference between "I know" and "I understand"
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: JoieGirl7 on March 03, 2009, 07:38:33 PM
Mourning a pet is like mourning any other life that was meaningful to a person.

I respectfully disagree with that statement.
 
When a person is in mourning for whatever reason is not a time to debate it and anyone going through a mourning process of any kind should be given compassion and respect for their beliefs and the process.  But, this sentence is not something I can agree with.
 
Not all mourning is the same.
 
And while when a human dies one is obligated to send a card, this obligation does not exist when pets die although it is thoughtful.
 
I don't mean any disrespect to pets, but I think there are better ways to say this.
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: Black Delphinium on March 03, 2009, 07:41:57 PM
Mourning a pet is like mourning any other life that was meaningful to a person.

I respectfully disagree with that statement.
 
When a person is in mourning for whatever reason is not a time to debate it and anyone going through a mourning process of any kind should be given compassion and respect for their beliefs and the process.  But, this sentence is not something I can agree with.
 
Not all mourning is the same.
 
And while when a human dies one is obligated to send a card, this obligation does not exist when pets die although it is thoughtful.
 
I don't mean any disrespect to pets, but I think there are better ways to say this.
I meant it from the perspective of the person who is mourning.
And yes, not all mourning is the same, but it isn't something that anyone but the person who is grieving can quantify.
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: JoieGirl7 on March 03, 2009, 07:48:11 PM
Mourning a pet is like mourning any other life that was meaningful to a person.

I respectfully disagree with that statement.
 
When a person is in mourning for whatever reason is not a time to debate it and anyone going through a mourning process of any kind should be given compassion and respect for their beliefs and the process.  But, this sentence is not something I can agree with.
 
Not all mourning is the same.
 
And while when a human dies one is obligated to send a card, this obligation does not exist when pets die although it is thoughtful.
 
I don't mean any disrespect to pets, but I think there are better ways to say this.
I meant it from the perspective of the person who is mourning.
And yes, not all mourning is the same, but it isn't something that anyone but the person who is grieving can quantify.

While I am saying "they are not the same" obviously saying to someone mourning a pet "why are you so upset, it was only a lizard?" would be viciously rude.

I think I get what you are getting at, I just think there might be a better way to say it.  The death of a human has an impact in society that makes the process fundamentally different from that of an animal.  I don't think that needs to be said either, maybe just skirt the issue since the whole point is to offer compassion.
 



Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: Black Delphinium on March 03, 2009, 07:56:48 PM
I modified the OP, is this a bit better?
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: JoieGirl7 on March 03, 2009, 08:28:39 PM
I modified the OP, is this a bit better?

I think it is!  Very good job!  :D
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: sparksals on March 04, 2009, 09:03:48 AM
I understand where the PP was coming from. I like hearing \"I know how you feel... when I lost fluffy..\" and having them share their grief with me. But what I think the PP was referring to was the one -upper. The one who tries to show their grief was so much worse then yours - or who isn\'t trying to comfort but to grandstand about their own experiance.

Right you are about that.  The one-uppers don't have any good intentions and it's sad there are people like that when someone is mourning.
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: sparksals on March 04, 2009, 09:07:31 AM
I think that there is a difference between saying "I know exactly how you feel. When we had to put Ebony down..."

and saying "Putting Ebony down was one of the hardest things we ever had to do. I understand and I'm so sorry."



Hmmm ... interesting.  What if the person DOES know how you feel because they have experienced putting down a beloved pet?  I would find comfort in that.  I wouldn't find comfort in someone saying they  know how I feel when they have not experienced the situation. 

For instance, my parents are still alive, but many of my friends have lost theirs.  I can empathize and say I'm so sorry for their loss, but I would never say "I know how you feel" because I don't. 
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: sparksals on March 04, 2009, 09:08:19 AM
I think that there is a difference between saying "I know exactly how you feel. When we had to put Ebony down..."

and saying "Putting Ebony down was one of the hardest things we ever had to do. I understand and I'm so sorry."


I agree. There is a big difference between "I know" and "I understand"

Ahhhh .... lightbulb moment.  I didn't make that connection in the PP.
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: Black Delphinium on March 04, 2009, 09:17:41 AM
I think that there is a difference between saying "I know exactly how you feel. When we had to put Ebony down..."

and saying "Putting Ebony down was one of the hardest things we ever had to do. I understand and I'm so sorry."


I agree. There is a big difference between "I know" and "I understand"

Ahhhh .... lightbulb moment.  I didn't make that connection in the PP.
It's the basic idea that no person can ever really know how another person feels, because we all feel differently.
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: sparksals on March 04, 2009, 11:36:34 AM
I think that there is a difference between saying "I know exactly how you feel. When we had to put Ebony down..."

and saying "Putting Ebony down was one of the hardest things we ever had to do. I understand and I'm so sorry."


I agree. There is a big difference between "I know" and "I understand"

Ahhhh .... lightbulb moment.  I didn't make that connection in the PP.
It's the basic idea that no person can ever really know how another person feels, because we all feel differently.

That's true.... and you know there's gotta be a 'but'.... if one has experienced the same loss (be it parent, beloved iguana or whatever), I have always thought it's comforting when someone sayd 'I know how you feel' when they've experienced the same thing.  If they haven't, then I think they're just trying to be nice. 
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: wolfie on March 04, 2009, 04:26:56 PM
I think that there is a difference between saying \"I know exactly how you feel. When we had to put Ebony down...\"

and saying \"Putting Ebony down was one of the hardest things we ever had to do. I understand and I\'m so sorry.\"



Hmmm ... interesting.  What if the person DOES know how you feel because they have experienced putting down a beloved pet?  I would find comfort in that.  I wouldn\'t find comfort in someone saying they know how I feel when they have not experienced the situation. 

For instance, my parents are still alive, but many of my friends have lost theirs.  I can empathize and say I\'m so sorry for their loss, but I would never say \"I know how you feel\" because I don\'t. 

If the person does know how you feel I still think they should say \"I understand and this is why.\" It\'s short and sweet and puts the ball in their court over whether they want to discuss that with you. Sometimes people want to hear about others experiences, sometimes they don\'t. I think it\'s best to allow the person grieving to decide if they want to hear it.

I think oyu are right, but this is where I feel the thought counts. I can tell if someone is trying to be nice and comfort and share grief when someone says \"I know how you feel\" or if they are trying to be one-uppy or co-opt your grief when they say \"I know how you feel\". It\'s all in the tone of voice and expression on the face.

Also to the PP who said that a pet dying is not as meaningful as a human dying that is your opinion. My dog dying isn\'t meaningful to you, and your second cousin dying isn\'t meaningful to me. But that doesn\'t mean your grief is worth more then my grief. For some people their pets are like their children - especially if they wanted them and couldn\'t because of various reasons. They fulfilled those needs with pets - and to tell them their grief isn\'t meaningful or as real is mean.
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: wolfie on March 04, 2009, 04:40:41 PM
Also to the PP who said that a pet dying is not as meaningful as a human dying that is your opinion. My dog dying isn\\\'t meaningful to you, and your second cousin dying isn\\\'t meaningful to me. But that doesn\\\'t mean your grief is worth more then my grief. For some people their pets are like their children - especially if they wanted them and couldn\\\'t because of various reasons. They fulfilled those needs with pets - and to tell them their grief isn\\\'t meaningful or as real is mean.

I do believe that what that poster was referring to was the social impact of the death of a human as opposed to an animal. When a human dies, we offer condolenses, send cards and flowers, attend funerals, etc... We don\'t do those things for animals.

The poster said they specifically disagreed with the statement that mourning a pet was like mourning any other life that was meaningful to the other person. I don\'t know how to cut and paste quotes but that is the feeling I got from that post - that they felt that mourning a pet could not be as meaningful as mourning a human.

But you are right about the social impact at this time. Some things are changing - I am not sure if there ever will be widespread pet funerals but there are newspapers that do pet obituaries.
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: JoieGirl7 on March 04, 2009, 07:10:36 PM
The statement I disagreed with was this:
Mourning a pet is like mourning any other life that was meaningful to a person.
 
There are fundamental differences between an animal dying and a pet dying.  How they are different doesn't matter quite so much as that they are different and that is why I objected to the statement.

The statement seemed to serve the purpose of characterizing mourning the death of a pet as on par with mourning the death of a human being for the purpose of showing why those grieving the death of a pet should be offered compassion in much the same way as if the death were of a human being.  I don't think its necessary to go there.
 
It is debatable and the debate does not need to be brought into it.   The "how" is not something that is relevant to the forum.

Grief is not a competition.  Grief is grief.  Grief should be respected, period.  Then, it doesn't matter what my opinion is or what your opinion is or anyone else for that matter.

The point is that one should give compassion and comfort to someone who is grieving regardless of the source of the grief.
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: sparksals on March 05, 2009, 03:06:41 PM
I think that there is a difference between saying \"I know exactly how you feel. When we had to put Ebony down...\"

and saying \"Putting Ebony down was one of the hardest things we ever had to do. I understand and I\'m so sorry.\"



Hmmm ... interesting.  What if the person DOES know how you feel because they have experienced putting down a beloved pet?  I would find comfort in that.  I wouldn\'t find comfort in someone saying they know how I feel when they have not experienced the situation. 

For instance, my parents are still alive, but many of my friends have lost theirs.  I can empathize and say I\'m so sorry for their loss, but I would never say \"I know how you feel\" because I don\'t. 

If the person does know how you feel I still think they should say \"I understand and this is why.\" It\'s short and sweet and puts the ball in their court over whether they want to discuss that with you. Sometimes people want to hear about others experiences, sometimes they don\'t. I think it\'s best to allow the person grieving to decide if they want to hear it.

I think oyu are right, but this is where I feel the thought counts. I can tell if someone is trying to be nice and comfort and share grief when someone says \"I know how you feel\" or if they are trying to be one-uppy or co-opt your grief when they say \"I know how you feel\". It\'s all in the tone of voice and expression on the face.

Also to the PP who said that a pet dying is not as meaningful as a human dying that is your opinion. My dog dying isn\'t meaningful to you, and your second cousin dying isn\'t meaningful to me. But that doesn\'t mean your grief is worth more then my grief. For some people their pets are like their children - especially if they wanted them and couldn\'t because of various reasons. They fulfilled those needs with pets - and to tell them their grief isn\'t meaningful or as real is mean.

I completely agree - to me it's comforting and I can tell if it's genuine or a oneupper. 

I also agree about the death of a pet being devastating for some people.  Our dog IS our kid.  He IS part of the family and it is heartbreaking to lose a beloved pet. 
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: Nannerdoman on March 18, 2009, 04:52:16 PM
The loss of a pet should be treated with the same respect as any other bereavement (i.e., loss of a human loved one).  Treating the loss respectfully is a way of treating the bereaved person respectfully.
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: reddevil on March 24, 2009, 04:00:29 PM
Watch out for the Rainbow Bridge poem and related stuff.  Not everyone thinks that's a good idea, and so you should not pressure them too much into reading it or talking about it while they are grieving. 
Title: Re: Mourning Etiquette-Pets
Post by: bailey14 on March 02, 2010, 03:57:45 PM
Also to the PP who said that a pet dying is not as meaningful as a human dying that is your opinion. My dog dying isn\'t meaningful to you, and your second cousin dying isn\'t meaningful to me. But that doesn\'t mean your grief is worth more then my grief. For some people their pets are like their children - especially if they wanted them and couldn\'t because of various reasons. They fulfilled those needs with pets - and to tell them their grief isn\'t meaningful or as real is mean.

I do believe that what that poster was referring to was the social impact of the death of a human as opposed to an animal. When a human dies, we offer condolenses, send cards and flowers, attend funerals, etc... We don't do those things for animals.

We don't? I have received condolence cards after the death of each one of my dogs, I have received plants and flowers, and I have had memorial services for my dogs.