* Pet grief is just as real as grieving a human being. “Symptoms of acute grief after the loss of a pet can last from one to two months with symptoms of grief persisting up to a full year (on average).”
* Like human grief, pet grief can be severe.
The New England Journal of Medicine reported that a woman whose dog died experienced Broken Heart Syndrome—a condition in which a person’s response to grief and heartbreak is so severe, they exhibits symptoms that mimic a heart attack, including elevated hormone levels that can be thirty times greater than normal.
* Pet loss and ensuing grief is unsupported and therefore complicated. “Because pet loss is disenfranchised, many of the societal mechanisms of social and community support are absent when a cherished pet dies,” Winch notes. “Few of us ask our employers for time off to grieve a beloved cat or dog as we fear doing so would paint us as overly sentimental, lacking in maturity or emotionally weak. And" few employers would grant such requests were we to make them.” Thought social support for pet grief is crucial, it’s generally absent.
* Pet loss recovery is greatly helped be connecting with others who have lost an animal companion. “Given our societal attitude that invokes responses such as It’s just an animal and You can just get another one” Winch advises seeking out others who have experienced a pet death. “Our best bet is to reach out to people we know who have also lost pets as they are likely to understand our anguish and offer the best support,” he says adding that “many animal clinics offer bereavement groups for pet owners.”