Should’ve, Could’ve, If Only…..
Guilt is a normal emotional response during the early stages of bereavement, but sometimes we can get stuck there and this can prevent our healing.
So why is guilt so much a part of losing a pet?
THE NATURE OF THE BOND.
The bond between human-animal is quite unique. They are our best friends and beloved confidants, constant supporters and even spiritual comrades. Some people can’t even begin to describe the connection with their pet, words can elude us and no words can do this love justice.
PETS HAVE A CHILD-LIKENESS.
Animals give us companionship and pure love, they are totally accepting and never judgemental. You may refer to your pet as your baby or your child, this is because they are so like children in a lot of ways, including their dependency, but also playfulness and innocence.
POWER OF DECISION.
There is a dualism in coming to the decision to euthanise a beloved pet i.e. we want so much to keep our beloved pet here by our side, but we also don’t want to see them suffer. Some people describe this as though they are killing their best mate.
It is rare that we would make a life/death decision for anyone else in our lives, as we do for our pets.
OUR PERCEIVED SENSE OF FAILURE.
Very often we perceive ourselves as failing in our responsibility in not having prevented the death of our pet. In a sense, we can assume godlike roles for our pets. This perceived sense of failure is applicable to tragic accidents also.
These are some of the reasons why guilt comes to the fore surrounding the loss of our pets. I’m sure you might know and feel other reasons.
As mentioned guilt is a normal emotional response but I encourage you to take it easy on yourself.
Wouldn’t your pet want you to forgive yourself?