Here's a random story.
I was standing near the information desk at the library for no particular reason when a pear-shaped woman in her fifties with frizzy perm-damaged hair stopped by. Apparently there was an announcement at the desk for a pet bereavement group.
She shook her head and said to the librarian at the desk, "Well, is there anything they won't do? A pet bereavement group. What a waste. Now I've seen everything."
I was pretty shocked and just stared at her.
The librarian responded "Well, some people really need it. I just lost my five-year-old dog and it was very hard."
The woman responded (I think a little embarrassed by now by what the librarian said and the fact that I was kind of staring at her), "Well, we had a cat once and it was so sick and the best thing we could do was put her down. It really was for the best."
The librarian said, "Uh huh."
The woman walked right past me and I just stared at her. I was THIS CLOSE to saying something really nasty. But instead, I went to the librarian and said, "I just want to counter what that woman said. I think pet bereavement groups are really important and I think that's a horrible thing to say. I don't want you to think that everyone feels that way."
The librarian was totally cool and talked about how devastated she was when her dog died, who was only five years old and her baby.
That incident has stuck with me because I thought it was so mean-spirited and I really regret not saying something. No one has any right to criticize a person's grief. People grieve for all kinds of things that mean something to them. I also suspect that this woman would not have the same criticism of people who grieve for an inanimate object like a lost wedding ring or other keepsake. She seemed to have an issue with animals.