When a pet I’ve sat for dies

Good evening.

I just got news that the HO of one of my favorite dogs I’ve sat for had to put him down. I am always touched when a HO tells me of a passing because it lets me know that they know how much I cared for their pet.

I typically send as compassionate a response as possible plus several of the photos I’ve taken of the pet.

But I’m curious if any sitters our there have other suggestions or offerings of things you do when you learn of a favorite temporary pet’s passing. Thanks in advance.



We send a note & any good photos we have @barbara.wood777 . Recently we made a big photo collage card of a lovely old pooch called Goku that we sat for in Tuscany and mailed it to our HO through Moonpig as we’re overseas. She was super touched!


I have had this happen twice now, where HOs have reached out to let me know the pet I’d cared for (months or years before) and loved died. I really appreciated being considered family.


Hi Barb,

How very sad I’m so sorry to hear your news, when we care for pets there is often a very special bond, their loss can hurt as if they were our own. The relationship we have with their human family can sometimes compound the sadness as we know how much they are hurting. What is special though is we can share the loss and give comfort because we knew their pet so well …

There was one little dog called Stella who gave the gift of a lifetime friendship between her family and John & I … her Mom was totally heartbroken when she passed, I was able to support Eileen in a way that no one else could because I knew Stella just as she did (I looked after her at least 6 times) one day she called and was so desperately upset, she had planted a flower in the garden for Stella which had bloomed once and then had died, she felt that she had lost Stella all over again … I went online and searched for something to take it’s place and found a rose called Stella, that was three years ago each time the rose bush blooms it’s Stella saying “Hi Mom, I never left you”

I remember the time when the pet was a rescue, I had a special connection with the pet parents too and made a donation to the charity in their pet’s name, which went on the memorial page.

I work in Pet Bereavement Support and know how much it means to grieving pet parents/owners that their beloved pet family members are remembered and celebrated.

A card, a special photo accompanied by simple heartfelt message can mean the world.

One pet parent told me after receiving member’s condolences “Not only was TrustedHousesitters there for her in life, they were in death too and it meant the world to us”

Barb, I hope you’re well and thank you so much for sharing.

I have DM’d you


I sometimes make a video using iMovie on my laptop. I use my iPhone and sometimes a drone and put it all together with a soundtrack. They always really love it, esp the drone footage as not many people have seen their house from above. (Obv you have to abide by Civil Aviation Authority zones and rules in the UK.)

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@barbara.wood777 , I send a sympathy card and express my condolences by text, email or phone. @Angela_L , the rose bush was perfect, what an beautiful gesture and so comforting.

When my white standard poodle died, a good friend of mine sent me a little white stuffed poodle. I know it was a thoughtful gesture but that thing brought me pain. I had to put it in a drawer and not look at it, it reminded me too much of what I’d lost.


I think the idea of sending photos is lovely , and printing them out is a nice gesture too as so many of us don’t take the time to do that and have them only digitally.

I’d add a word of caution warn /ask the PP first before sending - for some PP having photos of your beloved deceased pet suddenly pop up on your phone can be distressing- especially if you are at work or shopping or in a situation where you can’t stop and have a good cry :sob: .

I would suggest either printing them and sending them in a package which says on the outside here are some photos of xx to look at when you are ready ….or if you plan to send them digitally ask the PP first …something along the lines of “I have some lovely photos of xx when we sat for you … please let me know if you would like me to send them to you? ”


I agree @Silversitters . Seeing photos would have been too painful for me. I don’t think you can go wrong with a sympathy card, a rose bush or a donation.


If I learn that a pet has died, I’ll use a web site that creates a photo postcard of one of my pics of the animal and send it to the HO with my condolence message. So far has been received well, but will rethink @Silversitters thoughts.


I would send a sympathy card w/ photos of the pet, but yes it does speak volumes when they let you know. So sorry, this is indeed sad. Holding you in prayer.


Thank you. I’ll give that a look. :heart:

I’m so sorry, @barbara.wood777, he’s been a part of your life too.

We often think about our elderly favourites, but only one loss so far: he may have been small, but he was a very special little chap.


I send a note with a card I have made using a photograph I’ve taken during one of the sits. When Lily died her owner asked me to make something for the top of the ashes box. I made several variations and colours so the PO could change with the seasons.


This is so incredibly thoughtful! You are such a considerate sitter for doing this - I am sure these cards are cherished.


I’ve done dozens of sits, but my favorite of all the pets that we have looked after is somewhat local. We were supposed to look after him for the fourth time last month. We knew that he had a heart condition since he had had a seizure while my wife was walking him a few months ago. The owners knew how much we loved him so they called us with the sad news the day after he passed. They still were kind enough to have us sit as planned since it is a wonderful waterfront home. It was definitely different not having him around. We will miss him.


When our little girl passed a couple of years ago, I reached out to some of the sitters who had either been there multiple times or who had seemed to “touch” her while there. I could always tell the really good ones by the way she acted when we arrived home…the good ones always still had her hovering around them even though we were there.

At any rate, after I reached out, I received cards, books, flowers, pictures and even a stuffed animal that was made in her likeness. The sitter had gone to a group that raises money for rescues by taking pics given to them and re-creating a likeness of the pet.

These were such great memories, and the stuffed “Sassy” sits on top of the box containing her remains.