Saying goodbye to a beloved animal is an almost traumatic experience for every owner. Studies have shown that people mourn a loved one at least as intensely as they do a loved one. For a long time, research and science were convinced that dogs, like other animals, are guided solely by reflexes, drives and instincts. Today they admit: Animals also have a consciousness, a soul.
Behavioral researchers in particular showed the way to allow dogs and other animals to be conscious. Ethologists who no longer dissected animal life in the laboratory, but observed it in nature, dared to take this step. Now it is not just mocked misbelief, questionable esotericism or at best compassion that stand by the side of the person who is suffering from the loss of a beloved dog. Man’s belief in the consciousness of his beloved dog and his deep relationship with him is now actually objectively supported by science.
Comfort when a beloved animal dies is now also a commodity. Anyone who recently felt left alone when they lost a four-legged companion can now rely on more and more understanding and sympathy. This is important: Every situation is easier to get through if there is a role model:
Losing a loved dog is very painful. © stock.adobe.com / daylight917
Mourning a beloved animal also has a purely psychological meaning. It is a ritual, a model of behavior that gives strength for that reason alone. Grief work makes it easier for those affected to grasp their loss, to put the chaos of their feelings back into order. In our time, we mortals push death and parting further and further away from us. The fear of its own end is behind it. Even the death of a beloved animal is a threatening reminder.
Grief consists of fear of death, on the other hand of feelings such as loss, powerlessness, pain, abandonment and sometimes also accusation, guilt and anger. And it triggers emotions and actions. None of this reaches the center of grief: the loss is irretrievable. Solace can only be found in a difficult inner process that the mourner usually has to cope with alone. Friends and relatives can help with this, it is called “grief counseling”.
Anyone who loses their loyal companion for many years with their dog must first learn the hardest part – that this loss actually happened. Conversations and excursions into the beautiful past together help. But it also helps to encourage all the feelings that arise: guilt, anger and tears alike. In addition, just as much the memory of an inherited duty to the dead animal: to continue one’s own life as if both were still together. The sooner the new role is found, the faster the deep grief turns into the longed-for gentle pain.
In deep mourning for a beloved animal, one thing is most important: gradually accepting the readiness for a new relationship. One thing is clear: no little puppy can immediately replace a friend with a long life. But it can alleviate the grief, can help people to detach themselves emotionally from the dead animal and the common life and to accept its loss more easily.