Coping with the loss of a pet
You're not just losing a pet when your furry and feathered friends pass away; you are losing a family member and the loss
can be just as devastating.
Over 70 million pet dogs in the U.S. are a testament to the natural bond between humans and dogs.
According to a Japanese research team led by Takefumi Kikusui at Azab University's School of Veterinary Medicine, dogs
are the only animals that have a neurological connection to man.
It is believed that it is the result of thousands of years of co-evolutional human-dog-bonding.
Upon gazing into each other's eyes, both human and dog produce the hormone oxytocin, which creates a feel-good response.
Very few humans could deny the pure joy experienced as their family dog barks for joy, wags its tail and generously supplies
wet kisses upon their return home.
Dogs provide companionship, protection and unconditional love to those they consider their people.
Many dog owners believe that their canine is a member of their family and include him/her in their daily activities, outdoor
adventures, special events, birthdays, holiday celebrations and family vacations.
The family dog also shares life's ups, downs, joys and sorrows, becoming intuitively attuned to the emotional well-being
of their family members.
Losing a family dog is devastating.
No matter the cause of the loss of a dog, whether by accident, illness or aging-related issues, it is impossible to fully
prepare for the extent to which grief is felt.
In a 1988 study by the Journal of Mental Health Counseling, cited in the Washington Post, the human research subjects
tended to rate their dogs as closer to them than a family member.
In the same study, approximately 38 percent rated their dog as their closest family member.
Losing a dog can be as painful for some pet owners as losing a human family member.
Though some may suggest that the death of a dog is not as significant, the grieving process is very real and extremely
Every individual copes with and experiences the loss of a family dog in his or her own unique way.
There is no perfect solution for the grieving process, and it can take many months, even years, to come to terms with
Similar to the grief experienced at the loss of a human family member, the emotional roller coaster of anger, guilt and
depression which are natural reactions can eventually lead to acceptance.
There is no cure for grief and the resulting emotional turmoil it can create.
As the emotional pain subsides over time, it can return unexpectedly in the form of a bittersweet memory, triggered by
a sound or an event.
The American Kennel Club offers the following suggestions for coping with the loss of a dog.
Express grief openly and freely
Make an effort to be thankful for the positive, joyful experiences
Spend time with others who have lost a dog
Seek bereavement groups for other dog owners
Be sensitive to the loss experienced by all family members, including other pets
Memorialize the life of the beloved family dog
Donate to a dog-related charity in honor of the dog
Place a tribute ad at dog shows, on dog-related websites and in similar venues
Take time to grieve before bringing home a new dog
A new family dog deserves to be celebrated for his/her own uniqueness and personality
If a family dog is suffering from an illness or struggling due to the normal issues associated with aging, it is difficult
to recognize and accept when it is time for him to be compassionately euthanized.
The following guidelines from the Dog Breed Info Center are helpful for identifying when it is time to say a painful goodbye.
Signs to look for which can indicate that a dog's health is declining:
Not eating or drinking
Withdrawn or lethargic
Signs of pain; crying when touched
Cannot get comfortable
Unwilling to move about
Tumors and/or injuries
Unable to hold head up when at rest
Discussing any of the above symptoms with a qualified veterinarian is recommended to help determine which ones are treatable,
or if it is time to say goodbye.
Each family dog brings a unique life experience for the humans who share his/her life.
For the millions of Americans who are fortunate enough to share their life's journey with a family dog, the experience
will forever enrich their lives, long after their beloved canine has died and gone to a peaceful place of eternal rest.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die..."
Read more at http://www.commdiginews.com/health-science/health/coping-with-the-loss-of-a-pet-77183/#etybkZU3fOsJZzQo.99
The number of dogs worldwide is
estimated at 400 million, roughly the human population of the United States and Mexico combined.
A dog’s nose has roughly 220
million olfactory receptors, 40 times as many as humans have.
Dogs can hear frequencies up to
45,000 Hz, about twice as high as humans can.
"If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." -
Harry S. Truman