Dogs are more than mere animals. They hold a special place in the hearts of many dog owners who consider them family. Unfortunately, dogs have shorter lifespans compared to humans, typically ranging from 10 to 13 years, depending on their breed. The brevity of their time with us is what makes losing a dog so incredibly difficult, and in some cases, even harder than losing a human loved one.
Some people may find it hard to believe, but for true dog lovers, the death of their beloved pet is a profound loss. It can be disheartening when others fail to understand the depth of this grief, offering dismissive remarks like “it’s just a dog” or urging them to “move on.” The truth is, losing a dog is an emotionally challenging experience that cannot be easily overcome.
Starting anew after losing a cherished pet is no easy task. While it is possible to welcome another dog into one’s life, the process of rebuilding that bond is not simple. Scientific research supports the notion that the pain felt after losing a dog is genuine and valid. In fact, it can be even more arduous to recover from the loss of a pet than from the passing of a human loved one. This discovery may seem surprising to some, but it sheds light on the profound connections we form with our animal companions, treating them as part of our family and close friends.
During our interactions with animals and humans alike, our brains release hormones and chemicals that strengthen our emotional connection. It’s not difficult to develop an intense emotional bond with both animals and people. When we inevitably bid farewell to our beloved pets, the pain is immeasurable.
So, why is it more challenging to overcome the loss of a pet compared to the loss of a human? The answer lies in the lack of socially accepted ways to mourn the loss of a pet. There are numerous avenues available for coping with the loss of a loved one. We can rely on other family members, relatives, and friends who have experienced similar grief, drawing strength from their support. Counseling or therapy can also be valuable resources during such difficult times, and seeking help through these means is considered valid, without judgment.
Regrettably, the same support system is often absent when a pet passes away. Society expects us to simply “let go” and “move on” when our beloved dogs depart. These individuals may have no concept of the beautiful memories we shared with our pets, which is why it’s so easy for them to trivialize our pain. Unlike with the loss of a human, we can’t postpone commitments, cancel plans, or take time off work to mourn the loss of a furry loved one without facing criticism.
Moving forward after such a loss becomes even more challenging due to the lack of available resources to aid in the healing process. Moreover, there is a pervasive pressure to conceal our pain from others, which can be detrimental to our well-being. The burden of enduring this grief alone can cause immeasurable damage.
Despite all these, always remember that you’re feelings are valid and it is totally okay not to be okay when you lose your beloved pet.