Ask Emily: I need help writing pet sympathy cards!

October 23, 2019
Emily Shiver, CVPM, CCFP

Emily Shiver, CVPM, CCFP, is regional director of operations at the Family Vet Group, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Shiver resides in Florida.

The loss of a pet is heartbreaking. As a veterinary professional, giving a sympathy card to your client shows you care when it matters most. Here are a few examples of sentences you can include in your card.

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Our team at and Firstline magazine asked practice manager Emily Shiver (a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager and a Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional) to answer your questions about life in practice for managers, technicians, assistants, client service receptionists and more. Got a question for her? Email us at

Q: What do you write on your pet sympathy cards? Why?

A: Sympathy cards are a nice gesture to let your clients know that you deeply care about their lost loved one. When writing a message in a sympathy card, make it personal not cold and sterile. One huge don't is just signing your name. This is one of the most difficult times for your client. You want them to know that they have your support.

Here are some phrases I might write in a sympathy card:

> “Your family is in my thoughts (and prayers) during this time of sadness.”

> “Remember all the special times you spent with 'Jake.' He will be missed by all.”

> “Jake has left paw prints on all of our hearts and will be missed by many.”

> “Jake was so loved and will be missed.”

> “Jake was a special boy that touched many hearts. Please accept my condolences during this difficult time.”

My veterinary practice also tossed out our old-fashioned, generic cards and bought some from Cast Paper Art. These creative cards come with a detachable seed paper so that the client can plant the seed paper embedded with wildflower seeds, a very sweet and special way to memorialize their pet. It's common for us to receive thank-you cards from clients expressing how thoughtful the seeds were.   

Take the extra two minutes to write a message that will positively impact your clients, thus strengthening your client bond.

Emily Shiver, CVPM, CCFP, is practice manager at Cleveland Heights Animal Hospital in Lakeland, Florida.