Losing a Pet is Like Losing a Child

Good Monday to you!

This one is for pet owners.

It’s also for anyone who can’t understand why people grieve the loss of their pets.

We lost our family pet during the first week of January. He was the sweetest, funniest (yes, pets can make you laugh hysterically), “little ham” ever – and a big part of our lives. When you’ve had a pet for 14 years they tend to grow on you and their loss can really “sting”.

Whoever said, “Pets are like Family” obviously owned, cared for and loved one themselves, because they sure knew what they were talking about. We found our little guy , a chihuahua mix, at a local pet store — but he was a shelter dog. One that if not for our youngest child, ( our son who passed away), asking us repeatedly to get a dog, we would not have had. Which would’ve meant that we would have missed out on some very special moments.

Just as with the family members and friends that we have lost, we have memories in the form of photos; but there also the stories. Oh, how I love the stories.

They remind us of the reason why “he” had to be the one to come home with us and become a part of our family.

It hurt having to say goodbye to him forever, not just because we loved him, but because having him around after losing our son allowed us to still have a little bit of our son around.

If you think about it… our pets lives are very much like that of the life that we have with our children, or anyone else that we may be taking care of on a daily basis. Their lives become intertwined with ours as we wake each day, on time, to ensure that they are fed.

We play with them, talk to them (yes, I said “talk” to them), we socialize them with other pets at pet establishments or dog parks; and sometimes we even set up play dates for them. We take them to the veterinarian to keep them healthy, or when they become ill.

Many pet owners, like myself, watch what our pets eat to ensure that they are eating foods that will benefit their health needs and keep their bodies strong.

We make sure that they exercise – usually with a nice walk, and it’s not unusual to hear a “pet-parent” talk about how their pet is often their source of motivation to get off the couch and to get a little exercise.

It’s no wonder that pet owners are considered healthier than non-pet owners, (even though recent research concludes that there is not enough evidence to support that belief). Yet, as a life-long pet owner I believe in the benefits and positive effects of pet ownership; and I challenge you to become a pet owner and judge for yourself!

Our pets keep us going and moving through life, while also adding positively to our livelihood. But, it’s their unconditional love that we probably benefit from the most. As that part of pet ownership has been shown to support emotional health and well-being.

I am sure that every pet owner will agree that there is nothing like the warm welcome and excitement that your pet shows when you walk through the door after being gone for a while.

Here is the thing… A loss is a loss. It doesn’t matter if it is a family member, friend or pet. It’s about how those we lost had an affect on our lives, and how much we will forever miss them.

So remember this the next time that someone thinks you are being dramatic because your pet died and you are grieving their loss; and keep grieving until you feel better. It’s not your fault that they don’t understand. Nor is it your responsibility to make them understand. But, feel free to send them a link to this post in hopes that they may one day learn to understand that pet loss is just as realistic and significant as human loss.

Thank you for reading!

Until the next post…

With love.

Take care,

xo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.