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Why Is It So Heartbreaking to Lose a Pet?

Category: 

Grieving Process

Posted On: Feb 03, 2017

Why Is It So Heartbreaking to Lose a Pet?

People who don't own pets or feel a close connection to their animals have a hard time understanding why pet owners feel so devastated when they lose a dog, a pig, or even a hamster. Losing a beloved pet is utterly heartbreaking, though. It feels like losing a member of the family. In fact, that's what it is. When you bring an animal into your home to love and care for it, then it quickly becomes a member of the family. Still, people on the outside don't always get it. They wonder why our grief is so intense, especially when we know that most animals don't live nearly as long as humans. Perhaps this will explain it.

Your Pet Is Your Companion

This is particularly the case with dogs, which are aptly named “man's best friend,” considering that they've adapted to life with people for the last ten thousand years. Their evolution even includes that affinity for companionship. Other animals may not have adapted to living with us, but they're still our friends, our buddies, and often our confidantes. If a cat and a human are tightly bonded, the cat is a close companion, too. The same goes for nearly any animal that belongs to a person who loves, nurtures, cares for it.

You Lose More Than One Thing

Losing a pet is the loss of more than just one thing. You lose your pet, your pal, your faithful friend, and that hurts deeply. However, you're also losing a bottomless well of unconditional love. You're losing security, comfort, and constant happiness. You're missing part of your past. You're losing a story that was central to your life. That's more than enough to throw you off keel completely.

There's Never Enough Time

We never have enough time with the animals we love. When they pass, we regret every walk we didn't take, every ball we didn't throw, and every moment we didn't cuddle. After a pet dies, you're left facing a home where they no longer run, bark, purr, or play.

Instead of questioning the grief of someone who just lost a pet, try to understand it. It hurts, and the pain is intense – much like the bright little lives of animals themselves.