When our pet dies, it is sometimes difficult to find understanding and support around you. We sometimes find ourselves in a form of solitude. In the United States, several solutions exist to feel more supported during this difficult time.
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THE New York Times was interested in the suffering caused by the loss of a pet. 62% of Americans own one today. Half of them consider this animal a member of the family. But, apart from turtles and a few others, they have a lower life expectancy than humans. The risk of being confronted with their death is therefore inevitable. For some, losing a pet hurts even more than losing a human being, because connections can be stronger in a shared, everyday life. But these are not necessarily easy things to admit and even loved ones sometimes find feeling sad after the death of their pet exaggerated.
In the United States, there are specialists who can assist you after the death of an animal. THE New York Times cites the example of a nurse near San Francisco who charges $150 for a 45-minute session. She launched her service in 2005 and continues today, at 79 years old, to help those who ask her. She also noticed that these requests increased with the pandemic.
Many associations offer online discussion groups
People can also turn to the APLB (Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement), an association created in 1997 to support people faced with the death of an animal. Yet another option, a funeral home in Des Moines, in the small state of Iowa, has set up an online group accessible nationwide to talk about grief.
In New York, there is the Schwarzman Animal Medical Center, which has been offering the same type of service since 1983. Groups of 20 people are accessible online, again, up to several times a month. There are so many users that there is a waiting list and it was necessary to separate them with, for example, a group for those whose animal died in the last three months, and another for those whose animal has been missing for a year.
Not everything is so organized, there are also more informal versions obviously. THE New York Times evokes the case of Maria Sandomineco, whose chihuahua Luigi died last summer. She posted a post on her neighborhood Facebook group in Brooklyn, simply because she wanted to express her grief. She did not want to talk about it directly to loved ones, perhaps because of this fear that others will judge or not take her seriously. But that message led to a meeting at a bar with other grieving owners and everyone, Maria says, ended up in tears after 20 minutes.