To understand why pet loss and grief can have such a crippling effect on people, we have to fully understand that simply putting the word pet in front of grief does nothing to change the reality suffered by those who feel the loss of a departed relative or close friend. The main problem in this failure to understand is the lack of empathy exhibited by so many people when it comes to understanding the feelings of those who suffer from bereavement. A very large percent of the population consider animals as not simply dumb, but devoid of understanding, emotional response and the ability to love.
Modern science is discovering how alike we are to our animal friends and around the globe people are slowly coming to the conclusion that creatures are sentient beings, however it is akin to preaching to the choir, because those who are ready to listen to these facts tend to be those same people who value animals as having rights the way people do. When a person takes an animal into their life as a friend or companion, they are offering love and friendship, which is in nearly all cases is freely given in return.
As an animal lover I understand the depth of love a person can experience from an animal, as well as the level of grief when that animal dies. I see no difference in the grieving process when the loss is caused by an animal, as when it has been caused by a human death.
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