Funeral Service For a Chihuahua?

November 19, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

Dear Kathy,

     My cousin’s pet dog died a few days ago and she called yesterday to invite me to his funeral service. I love my cousin dearly, but this feels weird to me. I think she should be talking to a therapist about her situation if she’s that upset, not having a whole service as though a person died.

     I completely understand that she was very attached to her little Chihuahua because she doesn’t have any kids and she lives by herself. This funeral service she’s planning is way over the top, though. I want to be there for her, but I don’t want to enable her. This whole thing feels strange to me. What do you think?


Dear Paulette,

    As your cousin is a childless single woman living on her own, it is understandable that her relationship with her little dog was very important to her. His death must be hitting her very hard.

     Attend the funeral service and provide her with the emotional support she needs right now, without judgment. Check on her afterwards to make sure she’s eating, sleeping, and attending to her daily routine. Reach out to other family members to ascertain that she has somewhere to go for the upcoming holidays. Her recent loss could trigger a depression.  

     Google vets and pet stores in your cousin’s neighborhood to obtain a referral for a pet bereavement group (these groups are often free of charge). It may be helpful for her to process her feelings with others experiencing a similar loss. Please let me know how she’s doing.

My sympathies,