Grieving animals/ animal grieving
Each year, we learn more and more about how some animals process emotions including joy, anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, jealousy, sympathy, surprise, and attachment, the latter of which is typically equated with love. An extension of sadness is grief, characterized as a feeling of emotional pain and loss when someone you love dies, or when a significant part of your life or identity shifts radically causing a personal sense of loss. When someone you love dies, the feeling of grief is said to be “love with nowhere to go” which certainly helps explain the intensity of grief as well as the fact that it sticks around for a long, long time.
Many behaviors that grieving people do after a loss are things that help them redirect that love that otherwise doesn’t have a place to go. These activities are tangible ways to channel their love (and associated pained feelings), and are an important part of the ways that people cope with these feelings. The activities may be extremely personal and public at the same time or they might be reserved for the most private of moments.
At Fanimal, we acknowledge the importance that we hold for our animal companions, and therefore offer thoughts to help us process our own grieving of animals we have been fortunate enough to know. We will also look at the role that animals play in helping us to grieve and explore many accounts of animals grieving their own loss.
Please check back for more on this important topic.