Here's a random story.
I was standing near the information desk at the library for no particular reason when a pear-shaped woman in her fifties with frizzy perm-damaged hair stopped by. Apparently there was an announcement at the desk for a pet bereavement group.
She shook her head and said to the librarian at the desk, "Well, is there anything they won't do? A pet bereavement group. What a waste. Now I've seen everything."
I was pretty shocked and just stared at her.
The librarian responded "Well, some people really need it. I just lost my five-year-old dog and it was very hard."
The woman responded (I think a little embarrassed by now by what the librarian said and the fact that I was kind of staring at her), "Well, we had a cat once and it was so sick and the best thing we could do was put her down. It really was for the best."
The librarian said, "Uh huh."
The woman walked right past me and I just stared at her. I was THIS CLOSE to saying something really nasty. But instead, I went to the librarian and said, "I just want to counter what that woman said. I think pet bereavement groups are really important and I think that's a horrible thing to say. I don't want you to think that everyone feels that way."
The librarian was totally cool and talked about how devastated she was when her dog died, who was only five years old and her baby.
That incident has stuck with me because I thought it was so mean-spirited and I really regret not saying something. No one has any right to criticize a person's grief. People grieve for all kinds of things that mean something to them. I also suspect that this woman would not have the same criticism of people who grieve for an inanimate object like a lost wedding ring or other keepsake. She seemed to have an issue with animals.
Monday, October 26, 2009
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For the majority of people, I would not think that the loss of a pet in one's life would be in any way comparable to that of a close person. Nevertheless, it is still a traumatic experience, especially for (but not only for) those who are lonely or are strongly attached to their pet.
Personally, I can't imagine that a pet bereavement group would be ever be my thing. But different people respond in different ways, and I could imagine that for some, the company of those who are in a position to empathize with their feelings and emotions might be a real help.
Ana... I agree that people grieve in their own unique way; and that no one should have claim to the "right" one... This lady sounds like the walking dead - emotionally void of feelings... Pity on her. Glad you were able to relate with the librarian as to what a full human being can and should be.
I see it this way. Pet bereavement groups are really just another sign of our continued evolution as a member of this planet. I believe that we as humans have an innate ability to communicate and relate to other species and we are only starting to experience that in modern times. We have been emotionally shut off from other living things, to our detriment.
Pet bereavement and emotional attachments to other species should be the norm not the exception. Only through that emotional and empathetic connection will we treat other species responsibly and be accountable for our actions.
You're right. At one time having children was done more to benefit the family in the way of an additional "farm hand". I doubt that loosing a child then was as devastating as it is today.
We are evolving to become "whole"... It's just ashame the process is so painfully
Pet bereavement and emotional attachments to other species should be the norm not the exception. Only through that emotional and empathetic connection will we treat other species responsibly and be accountable for our actions
Wow , what a quote!! Right on!!
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