Why The Death of A Dog Is As Painful As The Death of a Family or Friend

Loki

Loki, our adopted Golden Retriever, passed away unexpectedly in April last year. This article on Business Insider showed up on Petbaker's Facebook news feed recently just when it hit us that Loki's been gone almost a year already. 

Right after Loki's passing, we grieved and mourned Loki for months. Eyes got misty when thoughts of him slipped into our minds, tears spilled when we looked at photos of him, or we would talk about Loki non stop to anyone who'd listen. But, as you are aware, not everyone understands this sense of loss when it comes to a pet. Least of all, in an Asian society, where pet ownership and the notion that 'pets are family' is just starting to take root. 

Here are some of our thoughts / theory as to why we grieved so hard:

1. We treated and/or treat our pets like our babies. They ARE a part of our family

2. It was totally unexpected. We still do not know why Loki collapsed so suddenly and was gone in under an hour. 

3. It was our first pet death. Not our first pet. But the first death of a furkid (not that experience makes the pain any lesser).

This brings to light a point made by Frank T. McAndrews...

What Did We Do When Loki Passed 

We knew we needed some sort of grief rituals. 

At the hospital, we were asked if we wanted to keep his ashes. We said yes. We collected his ashes two days after, and did some research on what can be done with it. We decided we wanted to keep apart of him with us and decided to keep his ashes in a plant! And sprinkled the rest of his ashes along the path that he walked daily. (Unfortunately, the plant died after we moved house (weird huh?), and we have replaced it with another plant without really having to throw out all the soil. So this means his ashes are still there.) 

In the first few weeks after his death, we would look at the plant everyday and 'talk' to the plant and tell him how much we missed him. We kept his food bowl, his water bowl, his collar, his leash and his favourite toy for a few months. We just couldn't bring ourselves to throw/give it away. During the first few days, I would pick up his collar just to smell it.

Now

When we moved house, that was like the final curtain call. We made the decision to give away his belongings. But the plant is still with us and most importantly, Loki lives on in our memories and dreams.   

Some Good Reads on Understanding the Pain 

Do read the following articles for your understanding on grieving for your furkid

The Conversation - Why losing a dog can be harder than losing a relative or friend

Business Insider - It can be harder to lose a dog than a relative or friend, here's why

Vox.com - When my dog died, I didn’t understand why it felt like a human had died. Then I read the research.