I have recently learned that roughly 70% of the population owns an animal. Over time, when animals were no longer chained to the backyard or roaming in a barn, humans started accepting them as members of the family. Cat litter was invented for cats to no longer be in the barn or cellar or yard. How can people say that “It was just an animal”? Kaleel Sakakeeny validates what all of us pet owners already know: they are not just animals. He has an enlightening interview here https://www.animaltalksinc.com/in-the-news with Boston radio station easy 99.1. I highly recommend listening to this, whether you are a griever or you are supporting someone that is grieving.
One of the most treasured relationships I have ever had was with my beloved cat, Wolfgang. He was my “heart cat”. What I love about this interview is that Kaleel talks about the human-animal bond as being more than just with cats and dogs, but any animal. This make it harder for non-pet owners to relate when the animal missed is not a dog or a cat. What we need to do as a society is honor these relationships like we honor our parents and relatives: with sensitivity and acknowledgement.
I hope that in my lifetime, I can see the fruition of pet bereavement being accepted for paid time off of work. What many non-pet owners don’t know is often, pet parents grieve more for their animals than they did for a family member. This is true in my experience. Losing Wolfgang was the hardest thing I have ever gone through, including a miscarriage, losing my relatives, getting sober. This event trumped them all. To say it was devastating is just the beginning. Like Kaleel, not knowing how to proceed with my life, how to cope with the sudden and tragic loss was more than I could handle. We are not given instruction manuals for pets, pet care and end-of-life care and planning. We are not taught in school how to cope with loss, grief or trauma. That is why I am here today, writing for you and your loved ones in hopes of bringing together the tools that you need to cope. I hope that you find the help that you need and please reach out to me personally if I can be of help to get to connected to the help that you and your love ones need.