Has a friend ever confided in you that the loss of their dog caused more grief than the death of a close relative? Have you ever felt this way yourself?
Society has conditioned us to feel ashamed of such emotions, but research suggests we are more than justified when we deeply mourn the loss of a furry friend.
This was the same man who years later would practically carry me out of a family funeral when my own grief buckled my knees. At the time I was confused by his varying reactions, but a recent article from Business Insider sheds light on the subject.
Turns out it’s actually quite normal for humans to experience more intense pain at the loss of a pet than that of a close friend or even a relative.
When a pet dies, we often have none of these traditions or sympathetic supporters to turn to. Most people are expected to return to all of life’s responsibilities right away, with little or no closure. The house is strangely quiet and filled with bittersweet memories. We have lost a best friend and faithful companion, but the depth of that pain goes almost unacknowledged.
There is also the matter of the sudden life changes that occur when a pet passes away. There are no more 6 AM wet-nosed wake-up calls, daily walks, or warm greetings after a long day at the office. For many people, their pets give them a sense of purpose – even a reason for being. When that suddenly vanishes, it is understandably life-altering.
The death of a pet means the loss of a source of unconditional love, a devoted companion, and a provider of security and comfort. Our dogs are sewn into the very fabric of our day to day lives. So yes, it hurts. Sometimes even more than the death of a friend or family member. And there is absolutely no reason to feel ashamed of that.