Since dogs were domesticated by humans thousands of years ago, the relationship between humans and pets crosses the lines between humans and animals to give way to relationships in which humans have built great emotional bonds with their pets.
And the circle of pets that won the sympathy of people, and expanded beyond mere integration in living and sharing food, and caring for them for food and medicine, to the enjoyment of love to the extent that the loss of these animals can equal, if not exceed, the loss of a human family member.
This level of kindness and love that some people express towards their pets is not realized by many others, so they do not understand their great sadness and pain at the death of a “just animal” pet, which may be the point achieve to revolutionize their lives.
What is the benefit of owning a pet? And what is its importance? Why do people mourn the loss of those pets? Is this behavior normal?
Why are pets important?
Some believe that owning a pet is an unjustified luxury, but reality has proven that a person can benefit more from a pet than he gives in return.
Pets help owners gain a sense of responsibility, reduce stress and help children with their emotional and social skills.
Interaction with pets can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support and improve mood, which explains why dogs help guide patients and reduce stress and anxiety.
According to Newsinhealth, dogs can help children with ADHD improve their focus.
Why do we feel sad when we lose a pet?
The loss of a loved one causes a sense of collapse, and the same is true of the death of a cat, dog or other kind of pet, although some of us do not understand the grief that accompanies their death.
One of the reasons why the loss of a pet is such a great loss is that the love for animals is unconditional. According to the website “Fearfreehappyhomes”, the relationship between a pet and its owner is like a parent-child relationship, and is associated with unconditional love and acceptance, which a person does not always get in his human relationships.
Therefore, people feel very sad after losing a pet, similar to the sadness that accompanies the loss of a close friend or family member.
The second reason for grief is that with the death of the pet, its owner loses qualities that he may not find in a human. According to Psychologytoday, qualities such as honesty, trust, acceptance, respect, tolerance, support, reliability, intelligence, empathy and unconditional love can all be found in a pet, but not in one person.
Another cause of grief is the changes that occur in the personal routine when a pet dies. With a pet, the person begins to organize a daily routine, starting with feeding him at specific intervals, and exercising by walking the dog at certain times during the day.
And when that pet is gone, the person’s entire daily routine can be thrown out, leaving them feeling lost and sad. Small disruptions in a person’s routine can easily build up to be more stressful and damaging to health than major events.
One final reason why grief over the loss of a pet can be as much or even more than grief over a human is a lack of understanding and a lack of support. According to an article on Doctorconnor, everyone can understand and sympathize with the loss of someone, while not everyone can appreciate how emotional the loss of a pet can be.
Some people may make insensitive comments, such as “you can still have a pet,” which increases the feeling that others do not understand what the sufferer is going through, and therefore does not receive the same amount of social support from others, leading to feelings . of isolation more than ever.
Because of the stigma surrounding grief during the loss of a pet, and the lack of space to express or deal with the emotions associated with the event, grief is greater.
What should you do if you lose a pet?
There are a number of tips offered by the Be.chewy Foundation to help pets to help you cope with the grief of losing a pet, including:
- show feelings
Feeling sad, shocked or lonely is a normal reaction to the loss of a pet, and expressing these feelings does not mean that the owner is weak or that his feelings are misplaced.
And trying to ignore the pain or prevent it from appearing will only make it worse in the long run.
- enough time to grieve
Grief begins great and fades gradually, and it is not good to recover quickly, and the person in pain must give himself enough time to cry and grieve.
- Remember the pet on social media
It is good and comforting for someone who has lost their pet to take advantage of the internet, and to share their loss, memories and feelings with their friends on social media, as this sharing can potentially give the person in need some of the support they need.
It is also a good idea to make a list of the things that the pet and the owner have shared together, as this can help to realize how much love and attention the pet has received from the owner, rather than the person blaming themselves and thinking about the things they didn’t do with their lost pet.
- Donate to pets
The money can be donated in the name of the pet to an animal shelter or an animal charity as a memorial, and at the same time it helps other animals in need, and the person feels comfortable and psychologically better.
- self care
Grief can affect mental and physical health if a person succumbs to it, so it is best to practice different simple activities that help the person overcome the grief and create a new routine in his life, such as walking, meditation or exercise.
All of these activities will clear the mind and create a new space for self-compassion, which a person who has lost a pet at this point in their life needs more than anything else.