Annie Wright Photography - Lost Dog
Annie Wright Photography – Lost Dog

Lost dog by an abandoned house in Ireland. There’s a forgotten story here somewhere, of love and loss.

Lost dogs and other animals

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wealthy Ancient Egyptian families would mummify their treasured pets, believing that the spirit would travel with them to the afterlife. Since humankind first domesticated animals, the death of a pet, such a dog, or an animal to which one has become emotionally bonded can be an intense loss,[1] comparable with the death of a human loved one, or even greater depending on the individual. The death can be felt more intensely when the owner has made a decision to end the pet’s life through euthanasia.[2] While there is strong evidence that animals can feel such loss for other animals,[3] this article focuses on human feelings, when an animal, such a dog, is lost, dies or otherwise is departed.

A lost dog: the effect of animal loss on humans

There is no set amount of time for the grieving process to occur. However, mourning is much more intense for a pet upon whom the owner was emotionally dependent. Additionally, some pet owners may feel unable to express their grieving due to social mores surrounding pets. If the pet owner internalizes the grief, the suffering will only increase.[4] The stages of grief proposed by Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross was designed in relation to human death, but can be adapted to describe the grief process for the death of a pet.[5] Indeed, pet death includes several lessons: 1) the relationship rather than the object (the animal) is central to understand the loss; 2) the manner of death/loss will affect the grieving process; 3) the age and living situation of the bereaved will affect the grieving process.[6]