My neighbor told me a few days ago that her son passed away suddenly. He was only 36. A co-worker and her family had to make the heart-wrenching decision to “put their dog down” recently. Should both be allowed to grieve?
Let’s look at some definitions of grief taken from the Merriam Webster dictionary online:
- To feel grief : sorrow
- To cause (someone) to feel sad or unhappy
- A cause of such suffering
Used in a sentence:
People need time to grieve after the death of a family member
Call me crazy, but I think the above definitions describe perfectly how someone feels over the loss of a pet as well as over the loss of a human. In fact look at some statistics below.
The paragraph below was taken from an article called “Grieving the Loss of a Pet” from the Agape Pet Services website. (click the link title “Grieving the Loss of a Pet” above to go to the full article. It is a great resource in helping with the loss of a pet!)
The first step in dealing with your loss and getting over it is to allow yourself to grieve. You didn’t lose “just an animal.” This animal was special because he was a member of your family, and research has found that the loss of a pet is just as painful as the loss of a human. The grief process, however, is the same — whether you are figuring out how to get over a dog’s death, a horse’s passing or the loss of a human being you love.
Did you catch that? “The loss of a pet is just as painful as the loss of a human?” I’m not alone after all in feeling like…duh, why would anyone question someone grieving the loss of a pet? (Sorry about throwing in a little frustration)
How about Paid Pet Bereavement Leave? We’ve established grief is grief, for ALL of our family members, and companies currently offer Paid Bereavement Leave for family members. Well…a pet is a family member, so shouldn’t they offer Paid Bereavement Leave when you lose a pet?
Here is a few quotes taken from an article “Companies Offer Paid Bereavement Leave For Death Of Pets”.
Ice cream maker Ben and Jerry’s told KPIX that while they don’t have a formal policy around pet bereavement leave, the company would grant it as needed to those who have lost a pet.
You need to take a little time to deal with the reality of what is going on around you.
Employers are beginning to recognize that an employee in that kind of emotional pain may not be able to be very productive at work at all.
So what now? As we’ve seen, some companies are starting to offer this, BUT this is something all companies need to do. Losing a pet is real, its painful, it isn’t something we get over in a day, we are not robots. Its a process. A day Paid Bereavement Leave is a start in the healing process.
I‘ll end with a few questions for you and a link that goes to an article written by one person’s journey of grief over the loss of his dog: The Death of a Pet Can Hurt as Much as the Loss of a Relative.
Does your company offer this benefit?
Would you like to share about the loss of one of your pets? Feel free to share a picture of a beloved pet you lost in memory of them on my Facebook Page.
I haven’t experienced the loss of a pet since my childhood dog passed away, but I still get teary eyed thinking about him. I have been getting pretty emotional writing this post and thinking about losing Cino someday.