Losing a pet can often be one of the most traumatic, overwhelming and painful experiences you can have. If you have pets, you know what unconditional love and compassion mean to you, but if you have them, you suffer a deep pain when you lose them, even more than the loss of a friend.
Some people may not understand this, but when you have been in this situation, you can identify and should not feel guilty when you are grieving your best animal friend.
In America, 68% of households have pets, and pet owners are happier when they maintain a kind of unconditional relationship that is not usually with other people than humans. Pets are often the most important living beings in our lives and our daily activities are designed according to their needs.
For many single people, pets are the first companions, and animals become part of the rituals that make up a family, with others participating in the ritual of gathering and eating together, and the family becoming responsible for things like using the bathroom, tidying up after the other, and the needs of the pets.
The bond with animals develops in the same way as the bond with humans, he explains, and this is scientifically supported by the feeling we get and forget when we are in the company of our beloved companions. Oxytocin, the love hormone, is regulated by social interaction and released by people when they stare into each other’s eyes, so people spend it when their dog stares at the other. He points to a 2015 study published in Science Mag that showed oxytocin levels rise when people and their dogs stare at each other and the dog stares at them.
Psychologist Julie Axelrod explains why people mourn their pets so much: “Losing a pet is associated with psychological stress. Pets can provide a buffer against physical and mental health problems, reduce their ability to respond to stressors, and provide unbiased support to their owners. This confirms that pets protect survivors from risks that could increase them, such as depression and anxiety”.
Pets are often the most important and popular creatures in our lives, and the bonds we have are incredibly strong. So if you’ve ever lost one, you know what the feelings are: “We’re losing a key companion who provides us with security and comfort,” Axelrod says. We take care of our children and make sure that our family members bring love, joy and fun into our lives.