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The “disenfranchised” grieving process for a pet parent after losing a pet

Losing a pet is a big deal. Our society has not fully accepted the equality of pets with humans. So when pet parents lose a pet, they may receive less support and love from their family, friends, and community. They may be expected to move on quicker than if they lost a human family member. And navigating the grieving process adds another level of difficulty for the mourner in these situations.

After losing Chilly, Sumit and I received support and love from family and friends, but it was short-lived. I realize everyone has their own lives to live, and some people do not know what to do or how to be there for someone during tough times. I was taught how to be supportive and help clients during difficult times through various psychotherapeutic and human behavior theoretical models. But as a society, especially in western society, we aren’t taught how to deal with adversity or death in any capacity. We are taught to fear it, which is a whole other topic I will write about later.

When I went through and am still going through the grieving process of losing Chilly, I realize the need for a change in our society to equalize pet family members to human family members in relation to their passing. We treat them in that respect in so many ways already, in how we take care of them, travel with them, have pet-sitters, buy them special outfits, set playdates, how we talk to them. So when they pass away, we should pay respect to them in similar ways. If we go through all this effort physically, emotionally, and mentally to care for them and love them, and society sees them as part of our family, then the entire life-cycle should be treated in the same way. 

The grieving process is disenfranchised for pet parents because we aren’t given the full support or privileges when we lose a pet as when we lose a human family member. I want to change that. As more people are getting pets, they will all lose their pet someday and go through the horrible process. So improved support and acknowledgment is needed. Petminni was created to help pet parents through this process. I wanted to honor and celebrate Chilly in a huge way because he was a huge part of my life. I didn’t know if anyone would come to an in-person ceremony and the COVID-19 virus started spreading all over the world. So instead, I sat inside and created this site with hopes it starts a change, a shift to move pets closer to humans when they pass away. We could all benefit from a softer grieving process, knowing continuous love and support is there for us. 

If you found this helpful, please share this article with other pet parents.


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