One type of grief that is not recognized as much as needed is the loss of a pet. People grieve over the losses of pets all the time and yet it is considered trivial.
Common responses include, "it was only a pet" or "at least it was not a family member". The reality is, to many a pet is more than a pet but a family member! Pets play pivotal roles in companionship and friendship. The value of whether sentient or not plays no role in the attachment.
For example, a elderly woman may have only a cat left in her life. No family, children far away, and struggling with grief. That cat is all she has! Yet if that cat were to die, it would alter her life.
Ask any dog lover how important their dog is and you will also find a strong response. Dogs play a role in our daily lives and the loss of a particular dog can bring on great sadness.
It is time that pet loss grief be taken more seriously and fortunately the Academy of Grief Counseling is doing so. It offers a program for grief counselors to become certified in Pet Loss Grief Counseling.
If you are interested in learning more about the Academy of Grief Counseling, then please review our site.
Mark Moran, GC
Academy of Grief Counseling