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Why Losing a Pet Hurts Like Losing a Family Member

3 minutes
Nothing will be like it was before its departure because its love and its loyalty were perhaps a balm for so many problems.
Why Losing a Pet Hurts Like Losing a Family Member
Last update: 25 January, 2018

When our dog or cat dies, we feel as empty as if we had lost a child, a brother or our parents. We experience an immense pain that cannot be compared with anything and is difficult to explain. In this article, we will tell you why losing a pet hurts like losing a family member.

Pain after the death of a pet

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Those of us who love animals know that there is no greater pain than losing them. Dogs and cats spend too many years by our sides for us to be indifferent to their passing. With the mere act of thinking that one day they will die, we get a lump in our throats. However, we must bear in mind that sooner or later, it will happen and we must be prepared.

The great connection we experience with pets is such that we cannot imagine life without them.

Unfortunately, the lifecycle of these pets is much smaller than ours. Therefore, it is natural that we are the ones who suffer when losing a pet. According to psychologists, this makes a great emotional impact on people, just as it happens when a member of our family dies. Why? Well, because the dog or the cat are also part of that close nucleus.

In addition, as indicated in an study by the University of Hawaii, the pain caused by losing a pet is not only intense and deep, but also lasts for a long time. One out of every three people consulted indicates that they have suffered at least six months after the loss.

The end of a special relationship

Pets offer us their love, support and loyalty (in many cases, more than what we receive from other people). Because of this, when they die, are lost or robbed, we experience what scientists call “the end of a special relationship.”

The pain from the loss of a pet is not usually understood by those who do not have a dog or a cat and someone weeping inconsolably for an animal is looked upon negatively. Unlike the compassion that they feel for us when a human family member dies, if the one who dies is a dog or a cat, our feelings are dismissed.

Since more and more couples and families adopt a pet and make it another member of the household, it is common to organize funerals and burials as if it were a person. There are even special cemeteries for pets.

How to overcome losing a pet

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It does not matter if your friends or family do not understand you or say that you are being dramatic because you feel sad. If your dog or cat died, you must express your sadness and face the loss. Take the time you need to get through this horrible moment.

Although you need to shed thousands of tears, do not repress them. Let out all your pain through crying.

You should not blame yourself for what happened, since it is not the best way to find relief. Your pet just died, and it is not your fault. It is better to be kind with yourself and forgive yourself.

Be patient because during the first weeks, you will feel truly sad. If you do not feel like talking about it, do not do it. If you prefer to stay home over the weekend, do it. But keep in mind that at some point you must return to your normal life.

Finally, remember your dog or cat getting into mischief and being happy by your side. Try not to save any item that you used because it will cause you more pain. Surely there are many homeless animals that need food, beds or toys. And wait a reasonable time before bringing another pet home. Once you know it will not be a replacement, you are ready to give that new life a chance.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.