Recently, my wife and I had one of the most excruciating experiences of our lives: the euthanasia of our beloved dog, Murphy. I remember looking at Murphy for a few moments before taking her last breath – she gave me a look that was an endearing mix of confusion and the assurance that everyone was fine because we were both at her side.
When people who have never had a dog see their pet friends crying the loss of a pet, they probably think it’s a bit of an overreaction; after all, it’s “just a dog”.
However, those who loved a dog know the truth: your pet is never “just a dog”.
Often, friends confided to me with guilt that they regretted more the loss of a dog than that of friends or relatives. Research has confirmed that for most people the loss of a dog is, in almost all cases, comparable to the loss of a loved one. Unfortunately, our cultural notebook contains few things – no grief rituals, no obituaries in local newspapers, no religious service – to help us overcome the loss of a pet, which can make us feel more comfortable. embarrassed to show too much public sorrow for our dead dogs.
Perhaps if people realized how strong and intense the connection between humans and their dogs was, this grief would be more widely accepted. This would greatly help dog owners integrate death into their lives and help them move forward.
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