One of the hardest things to accept as a pet owner is coming to terms with losing a friend and companion.
Whether this loss comes peacefully at the end of a long life or suddenly as the result of an accident or illness, it is always devastating for the family left behind.
The loss can be difficult and even seemingly impossible to put into words.
Mourning the loss of a pet can also be made more difficult by the lack of the rituals and structured support systems that accompany the loss of human life. These verses seek to fill the gap for anyone struggling to articulate or cope with all the ways in which they love and miss their friend.
RELATED: 32 Sympathy Poems To Comfort A Loved One
These loss of pet poems are here to comfort and relieve anyone struggling with grief at the loss of a truly beloved animal friend.
Short Pet Loss Poems
These first loss of pets poems are short, sweet, and simple. They might be ideal for a young child to recite at a burial, or they could also work well as makeshift epitaphs for a gravesite or backyard memorial.
Over in the Corner
Over in the corner, where a beloved tank once stood,
Over in that empty corner, you once had your neighborhood.
Your log, your rock, your little pond,
That you would jump in every day.
The house you would retreat back to
When done with all your play.
That little corner used to be
The best part of my room,
But now it sits, bereft and dusty,
Lost in grief and gloom.
One day I will fill that corner
With a new lizard or turtle or friend
And then it will not sit empty
Like the hole that my heart is yet to mend
One day I will fill that corner,
But that day is not today.
Today I sit in silence,
And mourn the friend who has now gone away.
Ode to a Lost Pet
We do not mourn the messes you made
Or miss all the work we had to do
To make sure you did not get lost when we played
Or train you about where to poo.
We miss your soft eyes,
And the kindness they held.
And to our surprise,
We miss your smell as well.
We miss each little thing we remember,
Each thing we loved about you.
You were, after all, a family member,
So, I guess, yes, we even miss the poo.
The Difficulties of Choosing a Name for a Pet
At first, I thought that I would name you
After one of my favorite books,
And then I thought instead I would claim you
With a title inspired by your stunning looks.
I clicked through the names of historical figures
And epithets assigned to long-dead kings.
I considered the names of my friends old and new
Or even just ordinary household things.
In the end I finally chose one,
And it did not even matter,
Because we never used your name in this house
Except when we were yelling with a clatter.
Instead, Sweetie and Baby and Love Muffin
Sickly and silly endearments, all,
Were how we addressed you, and how we remembered,
That they are called pet names, after all.
Haiku on a Lost Parakeet
Once so bright and sweet
Beautiful and full of song
Silence. Just echoes.
Empty quiet house
That once was loud and joyous
I still feel you here
Staring at a Fish Tank
It is true I could not pet you
It is true you did not smile
But no less did I love you
Or watch you with joy all the while
I loved your bright colors and flashing fast fins
I loved the peaceful burble of your tank
Endless hours of joy and wonder
And it is only you I have to thank
When I Got Home from School Today
When I got home from school today
I went to say hello
And tell all about my work and play
To a friend I am lucky to know
But then I remembered, in a rush,
When my friend did not smile and greet me
That they are no longer living here with us
To improve our lives oh so sweetly.
And it hit me again, as it so often does,
Just how much I relied on my pet.
An animal, yes, but no less full of love,
Something we too often forget.
Long Pet Loss Poems
These longer verses could also work as graveside recitations, perhaps by older or more theatrical or performance-driven children. They may also be a source of comfort and solace to a bereaved pet owner of any age, no matter what kind of companion they have lost or how long they owned and loved the animal.
The Weightlessness of Birds
At first, it seemed so sad to me,
Keeping such a beautiful bird in a cage,
In my house,
So far from the sun and the sky it was made for
From the piercing blue it was meant to soar across,
From the fiercely howling winds it was meant to ride,
Birds are creatures of flight,
And flight to us is freedom,
Oh, how we envy the weightlessness of birds.
And yet I bought one, kept it in a cage,
A large, well-kept, imprisoning cage,
Because I thought it was beautiful,
Because I loved its chirping song,
And yes, because I was lonely.
But loneliness, too, is a cage
An empty one you freed me from
When you filled my house with song and sweetness
With chirps and tweets and well-shed feathers
Oh, how we envy the weightlessness of birds,
But it is only now,
That the unbearable weight of loneliness has returned
Do I remember how heavy a burden it is to bear,
And how effortlessly the weightlessness of birds
Lifted it from my shoulders,
At least for a brief moment
Of solace, and sweetness, and birdsong.
Meditation of Getting a Pet Snake
Everyone told me not to get a snake,
To pick a cat or a rabbit instead.
Something soft and cuddly and sweet to look at,
A friendly creature who would let me scratch their head.
But I never listened, and I did not again,
When I chose you to bring with me home.
I liked your bright scales and your sharp staring eyes
And the way you slithered with all of your soft snaky bones.
For years your tank lived in my bedroom
And I fed you each day right at three.
Despite what they thought, you did not eat live mice,
Though you ate crickets and bugs happily.
They said you would not want to cuddle
Or play with me after a long day.
They did not know how you would curl on my shoulders,
And look at me as though you had something important to say.
There is always so much they do not tell you
When you take an animal home,
And in your case, there is simply no way that they knew
How perfectly you would make me feel so much less alone.
Silver Linings in Saying Goodbye
Perhaps the only silver lining we have,
Is that at least I knew it was coming.
At least I had a chance to say goodbye
To scratch your ears and listen to your chest humming.
A small consolation, I know,
To a loss so devastating and unfair,
But the fact that I told you I loved you once more –
I will admit I find some comfort there.
I find some comfort in thinking you understood me
When I looked in your eyes that last time.
I find comfort in thinking that you found comfort too
In the moments before you crossed over the line.
I never knew, I will admit,
How much you understood of what I said,
How much all my words of love and affection
Crept through your fur to your head.
I have to believe you knew enough to know
How truly and deeply I loved you
How badly I will miss you now that you are gone,
And how hard it was for me to let you go, too.
When I Walked in the Door Last Night
When I walked in the door last night,
You were not there to greet me.
When I walked in the door last night,
There was no ball of fluff to greet me.
When I sat down at last to dinner,
No one came to steal my food.
When I sat down at last to dinner,
The calm and peace ruined the mood.
When I went to take a shower,
No one sat outside the door and whined.
When I went to take a shower,
I sat on the floor and I cried.
When I stood and brushed my teeth,
No wet nose pushed at my hand.
When I stood and brushed my teeth,
There was nothing to do but just stand.
When I put myself to bed,
I slept there all alone.
When I put myself to bed,
I laid there and stared at my phone.
And when I finally fell asleep,
I dreamed and felt good once again.
And when I finally fell asleep,
In my dreams I saw my old friend.
How Do You Get Rid of an Empty Aquarium?
Because I considered simply restocking it,
With new fish, I mean, different fish,
Not fish like you,
Not the same type, anyway, I would not dare.
I know you were irreplaceable,
That any attempt at a replacement would pale in comparison to your beautiful colors,
The way you hid amidst the ferns like some kind of submarine James Bond,
Always keeping an eye on me,
Always watching, as I watched you.
I watched you swim around your tank,
Watched you pluck your food from the water
Like a hawk catching butterflies,
Delicate and deadly.
I also considered giving it away,
Maybe selling it on eBay,
The tank, I mean, selling the tank,
But that felt too much like losing you again.
I could not just put it in the garbage
Or flush it down the toilet,
But I could not keep it either,
Staring at me from the counter,
Reminding me of what I could not watch anymore,
A beacon of emptiness that will not blink.
When Silence Speaks Louder
I had forgotten how heavy silence is.
The way it presses against your lungs like a weight of water you can neither remove
Nor breathe in.
If you have ever tried to breathe in silence,
You will know what I mean.
It defies you to breathe it in,
Says it must be so easy.
After all, it is just air,
With no noise,
No speech or sound or song to weigh it down,
Stop it from entering silently into your silent lungs.
And yet your lungs will not take it in,
Because it is silence, and they are alive,
And those two things cannot coexist
Any more than an ice cube can survive a raging fire.
The breath of life, the silence of death –
We live so little with silence, as we must,
That we forget its deathlike chill,
The heaviness it carries of six feet of earth pressing down on lungs that will not breathe.
I guess what I mean to say by all of this
Is that I had not realized how loud you were,
How much noise you made, just by being so joyfully alive
From the thud of your feet trampling down the stairs,
So loud for such a little creature,
To the soft breathing of your wet nose in my ear
When I was supposed to be annoyed because I was trying to sleep.
So, I guess what I meant to say by all of this, really,
Is that I miss you.
Dog Loss Poems
These six poems cover a variety of lengths and styles, but they all deal with the loss of man’s best friend, the devoted dog. Whether you lost a loyal Labrador retriever, a garrulous Great Dane, or a beloved Boston terrier, one of these will speak to your grief for, as well as your joyful memories of, a well-loved furry friend.
Things I Did Not Know I Would Miss
When I got home from work today,
There were no teeth marks on my shoes,
No kibble spilled across the floor,
No one howling trying to sing the blues.
I thought at least I would be glad
When I no longer had to lock the door
To keep the snuffling nose and drooling mouth
From waking me up and snuggling in more.
The blankets chewed to shreds and ribbons,
The sticks of butter swallowed whole,
The constant barking at the mailman,
The stealing food as though you were never full.
I knew these things would soon be gone,
But I did not think it would break my heart,
All the little inconveniences and pains
Of which you are no longer a part.
I guess it is a million things,
The little, big, and small,
That hurt the most when they are not there,
And make me miss you most of all.
How to Name a Dog
Some people call them Fido
While others name them Rover
Some choose fancy names like Dido
Or beautiful ones like Clover
But whatever we choose to call them
We love them all the same
And so, I ask a question most solemn
Namely, what is in a name?
In truth, names are not that important
They can be simple or silly or fun
Because the one thing each name says more than
Any other thing is “love.”
Man’s Best Friend
It was silly, I thought, to say a dog could be your best friend.
They do not even talk.
How could you be friends with something that could not listen to your troubles,
Would never offer any advice or solace
Or well-timed jokes to ease the tension and the pain?
How could a dog be a friend, let alone a best friend?
It all seemed so foolish, such romanticized nonsense,
But I was lonely, and cold in the night,
And needed a reason to walk around the block every day.
It turns out I was right about some things.
You never offered me any advice, or tried to tell a joke.
But what a lie it would be to say you offered no solace,
No laughs in a moment of despair,
And to say you never listened would be the most egregious lie of all.
And so, it turns out that I was the fool who could not see
That if anything, man’s best friend was a grievous understatement indeed.
Growing Up Together
I remember when you were a puppy
And you would bark at the door all day long.
I remember when I was a toddler,
And I loved to yell, like I was singing along.
I remember, you got a bit older,
And all day we would play tug of war.
I went off to school, but when I came back,
You were waiting for me by the door.
I remember how all of these last few years,
You would sit at my feet as I read
Bigger books and longer stories,
All while scratching your ears and the back of your head.
All of these things I remember with joy,
When I look at your bed or your old favorite toy.
So many things I will never forget,
A childhood spent together, full of love and no regrets.
When Your Kids Ask for a Dog
The story is a well-known one,
Told so often it is now worn through at the heels
About the children who so desperately beg for a puppy
And the parents who end up doing all of the work,
Taking the dog out for long walks every morning,
Watching the sun come up, shining a million colors through the trees
And onto the river, across the mist rising from the dew-stained, too-green grass;
Waking up in the middle of the night to the incessant wail of the puppy,
Dragging him outside to stand under the stars,
To breathe out into the too-crisp air with breaths lit up by the oversaturated moonlight,
To clap their hands against the cold and break through the silence that is not silence
Of bare tree branches clacking in the breeze that has disturbed the squirrels once again;
Comforting the dog during another long day with the kids at school,
Constantly caressing his warm soft ears,
While his wetly sniffing nose huffs heavily into a comfortable lap
Like a sigh of relief no one knew he was holding.
I never understood why the parents were the ones who were supposed to complain about this arrangement.
Letter to a Lost Dog
The bed lies empty in the corner
The toys un-played-with in their drawer
The bowls are drying on the counter
There are no more kibble bits on the floor.
Absence fills up so much space,
More, it feels, than you ever did,
Even though you have lived and loved in this place
Since we got you when I was a kid
I remember trying to hold you on the car ride home;
I remember trying to pet you all that first week.
I remember working so hard on your first commands,
Like sit and roll over and speak.
I remember the walks and the long morning runs
Hoping you would help me get a date.
I remember the one time that actually worked,
Until your antics made me a half hour late.
And maybe that girl was the love of my life,
But somehow, I doubt that is true.
Somedays I think, more than a girlfriend or wife,
The love of my life has been you.
That is why your absence is so heavy,
My friend, and why all your things are still here,
Right where you left them, because I cannot believe
That you are not coming home, my poor dear.
Cat Loss Poems
These last six verses celebrate the life and mourn the loss of man’s other best friend, perhaps less popular than the dog but no less loved, our feline friends. Although they vary in length and format, each of them speaks to a different facet of the grief of losing an adored cat and the joy of having had such a wonderful companion in the first place.
I never thought I would miss
That abstract pattern of long white hairs
That used to decorate my laundry basket
And all my dark-stained clothes
If I left them unguarded for even a second
And yet I do.
I miss the strange security I did not realize I felt,
That sense of carrying you with me
Wherever I went
Every time I stepped out into the world
With your hair on my back
As though you were still there
Cuddling with me
Trying to keep me warm,
To get me to stay with you
For as long as I dared
Before we both knew I would be late for work
Although only I cared.
When I was a child, I dreamed about having a kitten,
My own kitten,
Who I would keep in a basket with a ribbon around her neck,
Just like in the movies.
Things did not work out quite like that.
You hated the ribbon,
Got your foot stuck trying to tear it off and raced around the house on three legs
Until I finally calmed you down enough to let me cut it off.
You chewed the basket to shreds,
Then threw up straw in the linen closet every day for a week.
You never posed for adorable pictures,
Or wanted to wear a Christmas sweater,
Or snuggled me knowingly when I most needed you to.
Instead, you sat on your spot on the couch,
Always this spot, your spot,
No intruders, no substitutions, no excuses accepted.
You sat there, and you stared at me, and on the good days,
I got to scratch your ears
Or pet your chin
Or run my hand slowly and gently down your long warm back.
So, it did not work out quite like I had intended.
But I still leave the left side of the couch open for you
Because that was always your spot,
And it just seems so cold to sit there without you.
How Not to Get Rid of a Rabbit Problem
When you were a young cat,
I let you out into the garden,
Hoping your scent would ward off the rabbits.
You may have remembered
That this did not work
And they continued their lettuce-munching habits.
I bring it up today because
The sun is shining bright.
The dragonflies are buzzing by;
I heard crickets all last night.
By that I mean, that spring is here;
It is almost lettuce season.
The rabbits will be just as bad as ever this year,
And you and I both know the reason.
And I know that it did not work last time,
Or the time or the time after that.
But I wish I could give it just one last go-round,
Gardening with my favorite old cat.
I hope there are rabbits to chase where you are;
I hope all the kibble is fresh.
I wish you were here and not so very far,
But as cats go, know you were the best.
For the first month after I brought you home,
I was too afraid to hold you in my arms
Without wrapping your warm little body first in a towel,
So that your claws could not pierce through the cloth
And scratch me –
I was deathly afraid of you scratching me.
For the last month before I had to let you go,
I was too afraid to let you out of my sight
Without scratching your soft little head one last time
So that you would not forget that I loved you
Before you left me –
I was deathly afraid of you leaving me.
I used to save all of my cardboard boxes
And leave them on the floor
For you to jump and sit and walk in,
To flip and flight and whatever else more.
You would sit there and wait for an enemy or two
To try to come and claim
The box you had decided was only for you
And you would die defending its name.
I still have them, all the boxes, love;
They are piling up by the door.
A few are sitting on the counter;
Most are gathering dust on the floor.
But I cannot bear to throw away
These things you loved so dearly.
Every time I pick them up,
I suddenly cannot see clearly.
So, I will keep your boxes, love,
The way I kept your old plush mouse.
I suppose I will just keep them around
To fill up the space you left in my house.
A List of the Sins of My Cat
It seems like every time I left the house
You would jump up on the counter,
And every time I turned my back,
You would make a mess and then meow louder.
You lied about if you had been fed that day,
And left headless voles in my kitchen.
You have been sneaking into my clean laundry baskets
Since you were just a troublemaking little kitten.
You were always in places you did not belong,
Always hiding and scaring me half to death.
And I have to admit I loved every minute
And would not trade them for a million dollars or less.
Oh, how I miss the trouble you caused me,
And the hair you would leave everywhere.
I miss the way you would wake me up at three a.m.
Just to sit on my chest and fiercely stare.
Some cats are just nothing but trouble,
And I acknowledge you were one of the few.
Life should be simpler, now that you are gone,
But I miss, badly miss, all that trouble that was you.
Read More Poems:
- Poems About Loss: An assortment of impactful and tasteful rhymes about all types of loss and grief.
- Funeral Poems: A moving collection of sad yet beautiful words that are appropriate for funerals.
- Poems About Death: A harrowing selection of heartrending and eloquent poetry that addresses the pain and emotional aftermath of a loved one passing away.