Researchers: Losing A Four-Pawed Friend Hurts As Much As Losing A Family Member

Dogs and humans have been best buddies since the dawn of time.

The problem is, the former live about seventy or eighty years on average, while the lifespan of the latter is just about fifteen years.

According to the American Kennel Club, Chihuahuas live seventeen years on the average, while larger breeds such as the Great Dane live about eight or ten years.

The longest-living large breed is the Belgian Malinois with an average life expectancy of over fifteen years.

Of the medium-sized breeds, Australian Shepherd is the longest-living representative with an average lifespan of about fourteen years.

Thus, most dog owners outlive at least four of their four-pawed friends during their lifetime.

However, the loss of each dog is just as painful as the loss of your previous one.

More often than not, dog owners need some time to come to terms with the loss of their furry family members. Petless households, on the other hand, tend to show less understanding to their neighbors’ grievance.

Psychologists now agree that the loss of a much-loved pet is a deeply-traumatizing experience that usually takes a lot of time to overcome. Here are the five reasons why losing your four-pawed companion hurts so much.

5 Reasons Why Losing A Four-Pawed Friend Hurts As Much As Losing A Family Member

“The bond with a dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth can ever be!”

By Konrad Lorenz

1. Long-lasting Bond

A recent publication in the Official Journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Study reveals that the connection we created with our fur-coated pals is sometimes stronger than that we establish with the rest of the family.

From the perspective of hormone secretion, the human brain makes no difference if the object of our affection walks on two legs, or on four paws.

In the same way, the most complex of all human organs does not discern between the loss of a family member or a close friend, and that of a long-loved pet.

2. Give Yourself Time to Grieve

So, if we form the same affectionate relationships with dogs as with relatives, why can’t we, then, mourn them in the same way?

For instance, if a family member has passed away, you can take a week off work to grieve about him or her in peace, but supervisors seldom show the same understanding to officials, who take time off work to mourn their furry companions..

According to an article in the Telegraph, organizations such as the Blue Cross offer counseling for dog owners who’ve recently lost their companions. The author also emphasizes the important role that the local vet plays in such difficult moments. In most cases, he or she can also advise as to when the time has come to take in another dog in the family.

3. Irreplaceable Soothing Comfort

When your cat or dog passes away, you lose much more than a pet. You lose the soothing comfort, unconditional love and companionship invariably associated with them. This explains the profound, overpowering feeling of emptiness reported by many dog owners after the last breath of their four-pawed pals.

4. Gone Is a Big Part of Your Everyday Life

When you took that little pup in you home, you had to make room for this furry ball of life. Well, now that your beloved dog is gone for good, the important part it used to play in your life has most likely become painfully obvious.

  • Gone are all everyday activities you gradually got used to, including the early morning walks that were such a nuisance at the beginning of your partnership .
  • You no longer hear your dog’s scurrying around the house or chasing butterflies in the garden with a happy bark.
  • This situation often makes dog owners feel very depressed, because of the abrupt change in their daily routines.

Taking in another dog to help you overcome the loss of your previous canine companion may help a bit. In this way you’ll be able to continue to perform some of the activities that you enjoyed with you previous dog. Sooner or later, you’ve got to move on with your life.

5. An Overwhelming Feeling of Guilt

Even if you did everything you possibly could to provide your dog with a long and happy life, you simply can’t stop feeling guilty about its death. The feeling that you could, and should have done more for your canine friend simply does not leave you.

The situation is further exacerbated if you had to take a decision as to whether your four-pawed friend was to be euthanized or not. For your comfort, you can rest a assured that life in excruciating pain isn’t better for your pet than a swift and painless death.

The sooner you shed that guilt off your shoulders, the better for you and those around you. Hard as the current situation is, it won’t last forever. Here I feel I should mention that hard as it is for us to overcome the death of our dogs, they, too, mourn the death of their owners just as intensely.

Let us remember the heartbreaking story of Hachiko –  the Japanese Akita, who continued coming to the railway station where he last saw his owner, Ueno, for nine long years after his death.

Final Words On Losing A Dog For Good

Psychologists and veterinary doctors unanimously agree that losing a dog, or any pet for that matter, is a gravely traumatizing experience and should be regarded with the due seriousness by of the involved parties.

They recommend owners of deceased pets to give themselves enough time to recuperate and not rush to move on with their life, as if nothing has happened.

In view of the scientific observations shared above, supervisors should be more sympathetic with and tolerant to those of their officials, who’ve recently lost their furry friend.

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