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A fur family member
Pets have long been thought of as more than just companions. Many pet parents feel their four-legged buddies are loving members of the family. Now, research is confirming this emotional connection.
It may seem paradoxical that we would devote so much energy to caring for another species. However, there are fascinating explanations behind our unique bond with pets. Uncovering these evolutionary theories sheds light on why pet ownership can be a source of great security and selfless love between humans and animals alike.
The loss of a pet is as painful as losing a loved one
Recent research has shown that losing a pet is as painful as losing a loved one. In fact, a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) found that 68% of people consider their pet to be part of their family and 56% reported feeling sad or depressed when their pet passed away. This supports other findings from previous studies which suggest that the relationship between humans and animals can be quite intense and meaningful.
The depth of connection between owners and pets can be seen in how people grieve for lost pets. Many people report feeling a similar intensity of grief as they have for deceased family members or close friends. They often experience feelings of anger, disbelief, shock, loneliness, guilt, depression and physical illness.
Along with that, they also feel typical symptoms such as crying spells and difficulties concentrating on work or other tasks. The duration of grief varies from person to person, but it is not uncommon for people to feel significant distress for weeks or months after the loss of a beloved pet.
Why losing a pet is so painful
One reason why people are so attached to their pets may be because they provide emotional support and unconditional love; something that is often lacking in human relationships. Pets don’t judge us; they accept us just as we are and give us comfort when we need it most. Furthermore, many people rely on their pets to help them cope with mental illnesses. Many people say that their pets have helped them through anxiety or depression; providing an invaluable source of comfort during emotionally difficult times.
Another factor contributing to strong attachments with our pets is how intertwined our lives become over time. We feed them, groom them, and care for them when they’re sick. All these activities form bonds between us and our pets.
And, now scientists believe they are just as strong as human-human relationships over time. Needless to say, when these attachments are suddenly broken due to death or separation, it feels like a void has been created in our lives. It’s exactly what happens when we lose someone close to us.
Without a doubt, few pet parents need science to confirm the deep bond with we have with our pets. Have you lost a pet and when that happened, how did you grieve? Share your thoughts in the comments!