25 Ways to Help an Animal Caregiver (from Janet)
Does this sound familiar: your friend or loved one is caring for an ill animal. Your heart breaks for them and you really want to be helpful, but you don’t know how?
Usually, even the most heartfelt, “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help” falls on deaf ears. Already overwhelmed with care-taking, your loved one can’t figure out what they need or how you fit into the puzzle.
Instead of a general offer, you can help your loved one much more by suggesting something concrete that you can do, something perhaps they wouldn’t have even considered. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Spend time with them, even if you don’t know what to say or do.
2. Send a quick note to let them know you are thinking of them.
3. Lend an ear. Almost everyone in crisis needs a sympathetic friend to listen.
4. A check in regularly. After the initial crisis is over, the wave of support may dry up leaving your friend feeling very alone. Let him or her know you are there for the long term.
5. Raise funds for veterinary and other care expenses (www.giveforward.com) is an excellent site for this).
6. Organize meals for the family using www.TakeThemAMeal.com or www.MealTrain.com.
7. Use www.SimpleVoiceBox.com to create meaningful memories. You and other loved ones can record what they love about the animal, then you can download the finished product and send it to your friend.
8. Loan a baby monitor.
9. Offer to care of their other pets – walk the other dog, clean litter boxes, etc.
10. Give or arrange for home massage, acupuncture or Reiki session for the caregiver or the pet.
11. Offer to watch the animal while they take a nap.
12. Offer to grocery shop or run errands.
13. Prepare meals for the pet (such as stew or boiled rice and chicken).
14. Bring flowers.
15. If the animal is in the hospital and your friend is spending a lot of time there, bring a care basket to the hospital with drinks, snacks, magazines, puzzle books, a cell phone charger.
16. Give hugs. Lots and lots of hugs.
17. Be silly and make jokes; laughter is healing.
18. Bring pictures and talk about your favorite memories.
19. Offer to drive.
20. Help with the kids.
21. Do the laundry.
22. Give your frequent flier miles so family can come visit.
23. Send loving messages.
24. Arrange for an artist to draw or paint a picture of the animal. You can find talented artists in many places – you may even know one! Try www.Fiverr.com for a quick and inexpensive option.
25. Let them cry – without trying to cheer them up. Some things can’t be fixed and truly are sad. Crying is therapeutic. Be a safe place where they can express their real feelings.
Sometimes, the simplest gesture makes the most impact.
“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”
~ John Wooden
Is there something you have done for an animal caregiver, or that you have been on the receiving end of, that helped make a difference, eased the burden, or given comfort? Share it with us, and we’ll let others know.