There are so many reasons why losing a beloved pet is one of the hardest things we will go through as pet parents. Pets become our family. And losing a close family member is devastating.
Humans are creatures of habit. We get used to routines and automatic habits. Pets become part of our routines and muscle memory. Living with them for years establishes a bond that we hold close to our hearts and they become part of our comfort zone. We adapt our lifestyles and create new routines to take care of them.
Pets rely on us. Some pets have independence to a certain degree, but we feed them, bathe them, take them on walks, socialize them, give them medicines, are in charge of their healthcare and overall well being. Pets are children in this way. We become attached to them and they become attached to us.
Once our pets pass away, immediately this bond, attachment, habit, routine, muscle memory, child, lifestyle is gone too. That’s a huge part of us. Even if there are other children and family members around, that is a loss that has been a part of us for years. It’s almost like losing a body part. It is traumatic. No matter how strong someone emotionally is, when part of us is gone, it takes a lot of life adjustment and deep feelings to work through.
On top of that, when others around you do not fully understand that depth of the loss you just experienced, loneliness sets in. And you feel the need to grieve privately or not at all, which puts more pressure on yourself. It’s always easier to go through something when it is the common or the ‘norm’. But for some reason, the painful process of losing pets which happens all the time, is not a societal ‘norm’. So taking on this grieving process for losing your pets puts you in an odd, confusing and unique position.
When we lose someone we love, having love and support around us helps us to grieve and eventually move forward. But when there is little love and support around us when we lose a pet, we have a harder time going through the grieving process. Since more and more people are adopting animals as pets, this process will become more common. So hopefully we will receive an increase of love and support from society when pets pass away. In the meantime, Petminni is here to help pet parents and pet lovers through the grieving process by providing online memorials and a forum community to give back and help others pet parents through the tough times.
Petminni will host a series of blog posts on topics relating to pet loss, pet care, and from time to time have guest writers who can share more experiences and wisdom in this area. As a psychotherapist, I will add in human behavioral aspects that may help you understand these topics at a deeper level. And I will also share some of my personal experience being a pet parent, Chilly’s mom for almost 17 years.
Picture above is of Sumit, Leslie & Chilly