It may come as a surprise to you that the death of a pet can be so traumatic and can affect you so deeply. After all, as those around you might comment – it’s “only an animal”. But while you experience the heartache and pain over losing a pet, and wonder whether you are, indeed, over-reacting, bear in mind the unique bond you shared. Taking into account that your pet had a special place in your life and has provided you with much joy and unconditional love over the years, your grief is entirely justified.
The difference between the death of a pet and the death of a human
The general consent is that the level of sadness felt when losing a pet shouldn’t be as severe as grieving the loss of a human, because humans, supposedly, are more important. Because of this, the main difference between losing a pet and losing a human is that pet loss is often played down and devalued. However, your pain is substantial and you should remember that you are not alone: many pet owners have gone through the same experience of bereavement.
Grieving the death of a pet
In order to really understand the grief people feel when losing a pet, you need to understand their relationship with animals in the first place. For many people pets may be substitute children, a best friend, a travel companion. Whichever “role” the pet took on, the animal’s love for you as its owner is always wholehearted and unwavering. Your pet doesn’t criticise you when you make mistakes and doesn’t judge you. Pets can cheer you up when you are feeling down. They are not driven by any particular goals or ambitions in life – their only aspiration is to walk through our life’s journey with us. It’s perhaps because of this that many people grieve more over the death of their pet than over a humans’ passing.