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If you’ve never experienced the loss of a pet before, you may unwittingly be the victim of a few common myths and misconceptions. The fact is, grieving the loss of an animal companion can be just as difficult as losing a human loved one. Recognizing some of these mistruths is the key to overcoming them in your own journey and can make the healing experience go much more smoothly. Let’s take a look at a few of these misconceptions below.
Loving an animal isn’t the same as loving a person, and therefore the loss of a pet is less painful.
While it’s true that the relationship you share with your four-legged family member may be different from the ones you have with your human family and friends, that doesn’t mean it’s any less meaningful. In fact, pets love us in a way that people cannot: boundlessly and unconditionally. As such, the depth of that bond can cause an immense and very real sense of loss when it’s time to say goodbye.
Grieving the loss of a pet is silly.
Just because someone else may not share the same deep connection with their animal companion as you do doesn’t mean the feelings of loss and sorrow you’re experiencing over your pet are somehow not legitimate. To the contrary, grief is a perfectly normal and healthy response to losing someone you love – whether that someone happens to be human or has four legs and is covered in fur.
The loss of a pet is something people can get over more quickly.
When a pet passes away, those feelings of companionship, support, loyalty and unconditional love are suddenly replaced with feelings of loss, emptiness, fear and sadness. Make no mistake – grieving the loss of a pet can take just as long as if it were a human companion you lost. Keep in mind, also, that grief is a profoundly personal experience. Nobody should ever feel rushed through the healing process.
Euthanasia makes the grief process easier.
Some people believe that being able to choose the time and place that their pet will take their final breath will somehow make the experience less painful. To the contrary, making the decision to euthanize can be one of the most difficult and emotional choices a pet owner can face. Saying goodbye – regardless of whether it’s due to natural causes or because it’s the humane thing to do – is never easy.
Ceremonies and memorials for animals are frivolous.
Whether in honor of a human companion or an animal one, things like funerals and memorials can be incredibly comforting for those left behind. For many of us, our pets play a pivotal role in our lives. Finding a way to honor their memory can help bring meaning to that loss and make the healing process a little easier to bear.