If you're a pet owner, then you know there are no words that can describe the love and joy a pet brings in one's life.
Pets are perfect companions, sometimes even better than some humans. They welcome you at the door, eagerly waiting for you to play with them.
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." — Anatole France
Love and loss of a pet
Pets can perform countless fun tricks and play games to make us happy and laugh. They're amazing with kids, and they offer unconditional love to every member of their human family.
They are always there for us when we're feeling blue or lonely, when we need comfort and a warm hug, and when we're happy that life can sometimes be too beautiful to be true.
This is why most of us find it too difficult to say goodbye to our pets. The loss of a pet is always a traumatic and painful experience, as it's the departure of a best friend, a family member even.
In fact, most pet owners share a deep connection with their beloved pets, such that if they lose them, they can suffer as if they've lost a soul mate.
But some people underestimate the pain of losing a dog or a cat, or any other pet. So, researchers conducted a study to determine the extent of sorrow pets owners feel in these cases.
In a study carried out in the Department of Psychology at the University of New Mexico, pet owners were asked about their feelings after losing their pets. They all agreed that "pain had been too intense and deep."
Arguably, Hawaiian researchers have also found that the pain after the death of a pet can be much longer-lasting than we feel with the loss of a loved one.
Many people agree that they can't compare the pain they've experienced after the loss of their favorite pet to the one after the loss of a loved one.
This can only be explained by the fact that pet lovers are deeply connected to their loved pets, and they suffer as they've lost their soul mate.
But Why Are the Feelings So Painful?
When we're grieving the loss of a beloved pet, we are actually mourning several losses at the same time, according to psychologists. These include:
The loss of unconditional love: Our pets provide us with emotional responses that are uninhibited by concern for how their expression appears to others. They don't judge insecurity or imperfection. They are all-accepting in ways few humans can achieve.
Loss of a protégé: Having a pet is much like being a parent, so losing a pet is like losing a child.
The loss of a "life witness": Not only do our beloved pets provide us with their uninhibited emotional expression, but they also allow us to express parts of ourselves that we may never let other humans see.
The loss of a primary companion: For most of us, our pet was the 'real' close social companion in the world. We may not have had any other close contacts before, perhaps due to depression, anxiety, or a debilitating physical illness. We only relied exclusively on our favorite pet for support and love.