On Losing a Pet
by Aluna Michaels

Many pet owners are unprepared for how heart-wrenching the death of an animal companion can be. But the fact is it can be as traumatic as experiencing the death of a relative or friend, and sometimes it can feel worse.

Many are confused about these feelings: It was only a dog (cat, bird, etc.). What's wrong with me?

But a person often isn't as intricate a part of your daily life. Your grandmother wasn't wagging her tail when you came home, and she didnt sleep curled up on your bed. Often people are closer to their pets than to many of their relatives. The intensity of grief causes guilt and confusion, but it's actually quite logical.

Relationships with animals are non-verbal, relying on touch rather than words. This enables the interaction to be deeply authentic. Connections between people, no matter how positive, contain personality conflicts that create calluses. A bond with a pet has none of these calluses.

Grief is the normal response to loss, and it actually signals a positive spiritual awakening. Grief and loss break us open and wake us up. We are moved from ordinary consciousness to nonordinary consciousness. Only then can we begin to touch the divine. However, this style of awakening is upsetting because it was unexpected and unasked for.

It is best to let ourselves grieve and not try to rush the process. Remain open to the teachings of loss and love. Death ends a life, but not a relationship.

[source unknown]
(edited by David Van Alstyne)
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