Q: My friend's dog died. She'd had the dog for 15 years and is really sad. Is it silly to send a condolence letter? I feel that I should...

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Q: My friend’s dog died. She’d had the dog for 15 years and is really sad. Is it silly to send a condolence letter? I feel that I should do something, but I am not sure what.

A: By all means, do something. Take the time to send a condolence letter, likely something your friend will read, re-read and treasure for a long time.

If you knew the pet, you can mention some happy anecdotes. Say how sorry you are that your friend has suffered a loss. Acknowledge what the dog meant to her. Whatever you say, it should be from the heart. That will communicate more than anything else.

Here is an example of a condolence letter for a pet. It might give you some ideas:

Dear Sandy: I am so sorry to learn that you had to put Max to sleep. Our pets are part of us. They share our triumphs and our sadness. We grow with each other. We give and receive strength from each other. We feel alone in their absence. Know that somehow this loss must be the universe’s way of moving you forward. I believe that when we lose someone — a person or pet — it’s up to those of us left behind to love one another a little better, a little more. Fondly, XXX

May I also suggest that you make a donation in the pet’s name to a charity for animals? There are several in the area that would be very grateful for your help, and I am sure your friend would be touched as well.

Mary Mitchell is a Seattle-based corporate trainer and author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Etiquette.” E-mail questions to Mary@themitchell.org. Sorry, no personal replies.