September 22, 2016

Silent Grief

I think we vastly under appreciate the impact of the loss of a pet. Too often, we tell people, through our words or actions, that they should just get over it (They can’t get over it!) or to get a new pet (They don’t want a new pet, they want that pet!) or in some other way diminish the person’s feelings of loss and grief.

Too often this leads to the person who has lost a pet to suffer in silence because they feel silly or embarrassed by what they are feeling. That’s not OK. The grief is real and we need to treat it as real. If we care, we have to feel and express that losing a pet counts as something worthy of grief.

Men, I think experience this more acutely, as we do with any problem that can be positively affected by sharing feelings. Few men will admit‎ it, but many probably shared more feelings with that old dog they do with their partner.

Don’t let anyone tell you to put it in the past. You don’t have to say, “I loved that cat.” You love that cat. Period. Your time together may have been in the past but your feelings are right here in the present.

Because this is such a profound issue, as a part of our five-year strategic plan, the OHS has partnered with the Pet Loss Support Group to double the local resources for those grieving the loss of a beloved pet. A second group will be launched Mondays once a month beginning on September 26, right here at the OHS.

The group is free and light refreshments will be available. If you are experiencing the unresolved loss of a pet, please join us.

Bruce Roney
Executive Director