Sense & Sensitivity

Sister Needs Comfort After Losing Pet

DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister’s dog died this week. I know she is crushed. The dog had been sick for several years, and she did everything she could to take care of it. This included multiple surgeries and almost round-the-clock care. It was unbelievable to witness. She had to take out a loan in order to pay some of the medical bills.

I have children, so I know I would do anything for them. I see that my sister, who does not have children, treated her dog like it was her child. How do I console her now? -- Pet Heaven, Los Angeles

DEAR PET HEAVEN: Appeal to your sister’s love for her dog. Tell her how sorry you are for her loss. Ask if you can do anything to support her. Find out if she is planning a service for the dog -- a popular choice these days. Listen to learn what will comfort her. By checking in regularly, you provide the opening for healing conversation. Remember, she thinks of her dog as you think of your children. Keep that in mind, and it will be easy for you to have true compassion.

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