The Healthy and Not So Healthy Way to Cope with Pet Loss

by A-Badgero

Some people can’t bear the pain at the death of a pet and are turning to cloning to bring their pet back to life.

It is no secret that pets can enhance our lives, they offer uncompromisable companionship, emotional support‚ and unconditional love. The bonds some people develop with their pets can be just as strong if not stronger than the bonds they have with other people or even family members. For some owners, their pet is literally their best friend, their child or described as the love of their life. For those who feel this strong commitment to their pet, the pain of their loss can be equated to that of losing a child. So it is understandable that when dealing with the loss of a pet, owners can become completely devastated.

You may want to avoid people who have an insensitive attitude, anyone who says, “It’s just a dog you can get another one” is not being sensitive to your feelings and will make things worse. It can be difficult for those dealing with pet loss to receive understanding from those around them, it’s often hard for others to appreciate the depth of feeling you had for your pet. They may assume that it is somehow inappropriate to grieve for an animal or they can’t understand how it could hurt as much as the loss of a person. This does not make your grief wrong nor does it make it go away, you can’t let anyone tell you how to feel.

It can be helpful to speak to others who have lost a pet. They will understand the degree of your pain and may have suggestions for methods they used to get through it. Just as it is with humans there is no timeline for grieving, give yourself time to cope.

The circumstances of your pet’s death will also contribute to how you feel. Often when an owner makes the decision to euthanize their pet they can become overwhelmed with the feeling of guilt. You must remember the reason you chose to euthanize them, they were in pain, their quality of life was no longer good and nothing could be done to make it better.

Pet owners invest time and effort into caring for their pet, once the pet is gone they can begin to feel a void. Previously their time was occupied by not only care but spending time with their pet. Filling your time with other activities such as volunteering or picking up a new or neglected hobby can boost morale and optimism. When you are ready you may want to consider getting another pet. Just like when you lose a person in your life, it is impossible to replace that pet however, if the loss of companionship becomes too much to bear then having a new pet can be helpful.

For the people who are featured on the new TLC show I Cloned My Pet nothing will do but the original. I Cloned My Pet depicts devastated pet owners who are desperate to bring their beloved pets back from the grave. Guests on the show go through extreme measures to afford the huge costs (up to $100,000) of having their pets cloned. This is not a procedure that happens over night either; some people waited for over ten years for the return of their pet.

Although this program gives hope to many who have lost their beloved furry friends it does seem to fail at addressing any of the down sides of cloning. The reality is genetic copies will not necessarily have the same behaviours as the original and in many cases they are not even identical in appearance. What makes your pet special is the experiences you have shared together which has shaped their personality. These genetic clones did not have those experiences therefore there is no guarantee that they will have the same behavioural patterns and personality traits of their original. The desperate owners on the show seem to believe that these new clones are actual reincarnations of their original pet, saying things like “do you remember me?” These owners admit to putting their dog before anyone else in their lives, their spouses, friends and extended families. Watching the show you can see how this type of deep infatuation can be damaging.

Unfortunately loss is part of life. Not coming to terms with it when you do face a loss can lead to unhealthy obsessions such as those depicted in the TLC program. If you find you are having too much difficulty coping you may want to speak to your veterinarian about alternative ways to deal with your bereavement.

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