Is there such a thing as too many pets?

Our very own Casey talks with Sue Mahar, President with the Cat Care Coalition spay/neuter clinic and the Adoption Coordinator for Noah's Kingdom Humane Society. Sue discusses whether or not there's such a thing as too many pets for a household, taking into account the health of the pets, space to roam, and the income of a given household as a measure of its ability to keep the pets happy and healthy.

Is there such a thing as too many pets? - pets

This rumination begins with a phone call from my brother, but it’s really about domestic animals, dogs and cats mostly, and our changing mores about them: How they are now viewed as peers and family members rather than pets, how we’ve come to define ourselves as their guardians rather than their owners, whether our growing obsession with them is somehow a simulacrum for the complicated and messy human relationships that formerly dominated our lives, and whether apotheosizing them somehow minimizes our sensitivity to human suffering.

But back to my brother. I got a phone call from him a couple of days ago. He is a person of a certain age who has had a colorful life. He served a stint in the Coast Guard, then 10 years as a cop, quitting the force after determining he neither liked nor respected his superiors then he became a master trucker, driving triple trailers on the I-80 Reno to Salt Lake City run. Several years ago, he enrolled in college, took his BA in education and obtained a teaching credential. He now teaches grammar school kids in Phoenix’s poorest and toughest district. He is a highly skilled machinist whose work has included beautifully customized—as in chopped –Norton motorcycles. He has been married four times. He is all over the map politically. He is laconic, though given to occasional scabrous and amusing outbursts. He has a sense of humor that is Sahara-like in its dryness. If I had to describe him succinctly, I’d say he is an amalgam of Hank Hill and Dennis Hopper. He’s a pretty tough guy.

I anticipated something dire. And when he said, “I have bad news,” I steeled myself.

He’s also my only sibling, and our connection is deep. So when I got the call, and the usual ebullience was drained from his voice, I was anxious. He seems to take a perverse delight in neglecting his health his diet is horrible, he’s overweight, and he struggles with high blood pressure and a variety of other metabolic issues. I anticipated something dire. And when he said, “I have bad news,” I steeled myself.

“It’s Moose,” he said. “We’re going to have to put him down.”

Relief washed over me. Moose was his English springer spaniel. Actually, he started off as my springer spaniel. I’d bought him as a pup, thinking he’d be a good, smaller alternative to a Labrador as a retriever. He was, in duck-hunting parlance, extremely “birdy,” and I’d trained him casually, so he performed pretty well in the field. But like all well-bred springers, Moose had a lot of energy. He needed rigorous daily exercise, and a lot of emotional input. I bought him at a particularly busy point in my life, and I felt guilty that I wasn’t able to give him all the attention he both required and deserved. So when my brother visited one day, and he and Moose practically soul-kissed out of mutual attraction, it occurred to me that I shouldn’t stand in the way of a budding relationship. When my brother left in his pick-up, Moose was bounding joyously around the cab.

That was eight years ago. And whenever I talked with my brother on the phone, the conversation inevitably revolved around Moose. How he delighted in swimming laps all day in the pool during summer. His guilty demeanor when he peed in a corner of the kitchen. The way his flews quivered adorably when he anticipated a snack. The $10,000 required to surgically repair an arthritic shoulder.

I screamed: $10,000? I accused my brother of treating Moose like the son he’d never had. He didn’t deny it. And his wife, he said, was just as besotted with the dog. Moose was the sun, and they were minor orbital bodies, basking in the beneficence of his life-affirming doggy vibe.

So I commiserated with my brother as he mournfully described Moose’s moribund condition. I pointed out that all flesh is grass, that spaniel flesh is even “grassier” than our own, and that he had given Moose a lovely life, allowing him to live up to his full canine potential. It was time to let go and bid him a loving adieu.

Chokingly, my brother agreed. And then he said, “Oh by the way,” and described tests he had just endured that pointed to a malignancy that could well prove fatal. (Final results are pending.)

“So,” I said, “That’s the real story right? I mean, putting Moose down is sad, but what we’re really talking about are your medical tests, and that’s what has you worried. Because that’s what worries me.

“No,” he said, “I can deal with whatever they find. But I feel really bad about Moose.”

And I believe him I believe that he is far more distressed about euthanizing Moose than the possible imminence of his own demise. Further, he’s no outlier. The animals-as-people meme is ascendant in our culture. Grief support sessions for deceased pets are as widely available as AA meetings. People talk about their dogs as family members. They die trying to save them from fierce surf or speeding cars or scalding hot springs. The Cat Lady stereotype is no longer risible because almost everyone who has a cat, it seems, is a fierce feline partisan rather than someone who merely “has” a cat. Pet health insurance is now widely available, which isn’t a bad idea, considering more and more people are opting for chemotherapy and open heart surgery for their lhasa apsos.

“People increasingly view their companion animals as valued members of their families because in every way they are,” says Kitty Jones, a spokesperson for the Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy, a student government-sponsored group at UC Berkeley. “Our dogs, cats and other companions love us and we love them, we share our homes, our food and our lives with them. There is a growing movement for animals around the world that is shifting our culture and the way we regard other species. Our justifications for human supremacy and exploitation of other animals are running out.”

So in many ways, our pets are now—well, us. Not too many years ago, the vogue was Deep Ecology, the melding of human identity with the larger forces of nature. The problem now is that nature is no longer “large.” It is a series of disjointed remnants, and as people have shifted their focus from the smoldering ruins of the natural world to the crisp graphics shimmering on their various screens, the urge to conjoin is no longer so pressing. At the same time, our obsession with screens has made eye-to-eye encounters with other human beings difficult. Painful, even. How much easier it is to dote on our pets, which seem to love us unconditionally but which promote no demands other than a bowl of food and a brisk daily constitutional. Further, they are our last link to the natural realm they remain in a state of furry innocence, so they make us feel real in an increasingly virtual world.

A 2015 Gallup Poll found that a growing number of Americans—almost one-third of them—felt animals should have the same rights as people.

Instead of merging with nature, then, we have forced the last vestiges of nature—our pets—to merge with us. Despite their lack of functional neocortices, pets are considered equals by increasing numbers of people. A 2015 Gallup Poll found that almost one-third of Americans felt animals should have the same rights as people, up from 25 percent in 2008.

“Just because cats, dogs, cows, pigs, and other animals were born in bodies different from ours doesn’t make then any less worthy of equal rights of bodily autonomy and freedom,” says Jones. “By rights we mean the right to be cared for and fed, the right to not be tortured, the right to be with their families, the right to not have their throats slit. Scientists have demonstrated that animals are intelligent and sentient, but more importantly, (they) are capable of suffering. In our ability to suffer and our desire to live and be free, we are all equals.”

In short, people don’t want to just romp on the beach with their pets. They want, somehow, to take it to the next level, to engage their dogs and cats as equals on a deeper emotional and spiritual (if not intellectual) plane. Not surprisingly, American universities—including Cal, of course—are at the point of the spear for this movement. Berkeley now allows “support animals” in campus dorms, and there is wide agreement among students that warm & fuzzy critters can be essential to coping with the stresses inherent in pursuing a higher education. Numerous campus groups, including BOAA, are dedicated to animal care, animal activism, in short, anything and everything related to animals, which, from a practical standpoint, usually devolves to cats and dogs.

“I really do consider my cat a family member,” observes John Siano, a 19-year-old undergrad majoring in business administration and computer science and the graphic and technical coordinator for Paws and Claws of Berkeley, a recently-founded campus organization that provides students with opportunities to help animals in need. “I think one reason is that she vocalizes a lot. There are these different tones she uses, and when she jumps on my lap and meows, I feel like I’m really having a conversation with her. It would be hard not to be deeply attached to her. She’s a big part of my life.”

Siano regularly volunteers in animal shelters and outreach programs for pet owners, and he esteems Paws and Claws because it’s a social nexus, a place to meet other students who share his animal-centric interests. But he also takes pains to differentiate between four legs and two legs when it comes to quantifying emotion.

“If I lost my cat,” he says. “I’d be deeply depressed. I’d really hurt. But no, it wouldn’t be like losing a human being who is close to me. It wouldn’t be the same thing. I have a lot of videos of my cat, and I think that would help me through the pain. The good memories would help.”

A few hours ago, I received another phone call from my brother. He and his wife had just euthanized Moose. It was only the second time in my life that I’d heard a catch in his throat the first was a few years ago, when he had been at my father’s death bed at the Phoenix Veterans Center. My father had been a survivor of the Bataan Death March and a POW, and when they draped a flag over his corpse and wheeled it down the corridors, the vets and active service members stood aside and saluted as the gurney passed. At that point, my brother said, he lost it a little.

“When they gave Moose the shot,” my brother said, “he totally relaxed, and I realized how much pain he was in.” He coughed, tried to continue, but couldn’t.

Shortly after we spoke, his wife posted news of Moose’s death on her Facebook page. Though her words were restrained, her grief was explicit between the lines, and she seemed inconsolable.

I have owned many dogs and cats, and I have loved them in a measured way, in a way that was not at all comparable to the love I feel for family or friends. I can’t feel for a pet the way my brother and his wife and John Siano feel for theirs. What I do feel is a bit alienated, somewhat out of touch with current norms. Somehow, I can’t think that it’s wholly salutary to lavish the same love, attention and resources on pets as, say, children. But I realize I’m not in the mainstream. If I were an animal other than a human being, I’d be an Apatosaurus plodding toward the tar pits. Pets, for better or worse, now rule.

One in a series of personal Perspectives. We invite writers and readers to submit their own essays—inspiration can come from California magazine or California Magazine Online stories, the news, or issues of the day. Read more:

Is your pet eating right?

24/7 expert advice for your pet's unique needs.

How Many Dog Treats Should You Give Your Dog?

The answer to this question can be a bit ambiguous. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), treats should make up of 10 percent (or less) of your dog’s daily diet. But what does that actually mean?

“When it comes to treats, it’s not about the number, which is actually convenient, because you can be flexible,” says Leanne Lilly, DVM, behavioral medicine resident at the Ohio State University in Columbus. “It’s more about nutritional content.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) adds that small, bite-sized, nutritionally-appropriate treats are ok for just about any dog, as long as it doesn’t drastically increase caloric intake. “For reference, for an average 40 pound dog, one single potato chip is like a human eating an entire Big Mac,” says Dr. Lilly.

More to Love: A Healthy Number of Pets and How Many is Too Many

Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital loves our animals just as much as the next person. Pets are a huge part of what we do, and we can understand the impulse to allow your furry family to grow unbounded.

Although the right number of pets can vary from person to person, there are some limits on how many animals you should bring into your home. How many is too many? Is there really such a thing?

Why Losing a Pet Hurts So Much

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” — Anatole France

A pet owner’s worst fear is losing a beloved companion. For those who have experienced this loss, there is usually a poignant story to share about a cherished dog or cat’s passing. From one pet owner to another, we understand the intense pain and emptiness that occurs after this loss. There is no correct way to grieve and work through this process, as everyone walks down a different journey with a pet.

A pet may symbolize a child, sibling, best friend, or long-term companion. Dogs and cats live an average of 13 years—enough time to truly enter and live in your heart. They become a part of your family and daily life. Your morning routine may not be complete without playing fetch or going on a walk with your dog or snuggling with your feline.

The death of a pet can be a truly traumatic experience and create a large void in our hearts and lives—comparable to losing a close family member or friend. As humans, we project onto our beloved pets our thoughts, emotions, and ideas: We see ourselves in our animals. The common belief that “owners come to look like their pets” may not be a literal truism but rather a figure of speech indicating that our pets are our self-objects.

My own four-legged family members

I have had seven dogs, so I could be biased when I call them "running love." Many people have known their dogs longer than their wives or children, so it is not surprising that their loss can be devastating even if it's not sudden. I didn't realize their stealthy Cupid effects until one of mine, a German Shepherd named Snitzel, went missing for three tearful days.

When a burly gravel truck driver made sexually provocative comments to my wife, Snitzel came running, without a word, snarling and taking up a protective position at her side, and that ended his comments and presence. And there are numerous examples of dogs rescuing humans, traits also observed in combat Marines and expressed in their mantra "Semper Fidelis" (always faithful or always loyal). Not surprisingly, a 1988 study in the Journal of Mental Health Counseling found that dog owners placed their dog as close as their closest family member and the closest of all in 38 percent of cases, Joe Yonan reported in The Washington Post.

To understand the kinship of dogs and humans, we might look at the qualities that humans think their friends should have. Laura Argintar in ADVICE suggests they include: no judgment, genuineness, trustworthiness, acceptance, respect, forgiveness, support, dependability, thoughtfulness, being a good listener, sharing humor, love. How does this stack up with the humans we know? Need I say more?

The magnitude of pet loss grief

A pet is truly a gift that can change your life and bring you monumental happiness and gratitude. Pets teach you responsibility, patience, kindness, discipline, playfulness and, most importantly, unconditional love. Even if your dog chews your couch, scratches your doors, and manages to eat every sock you own, you still figure out a way to share your home and heart with your companion.

The death of a pet can hurt as much as the loss of a close relative or friend. It is common for humans to have conflicts with family members over religion, money, politics, and so forth—conflicts that may create emotional distance between them. Humans and pets do not have these types of conflicts—pets are 100 percent dependent on their human companion. Yes, you may become angry at your dog for chewing your shoelaces or leaving a “surprise” on your carpet, but these feelings of frustration and anger quickly dissipate after your pet looks up at you with funny ears and wide-open eyes.

According to an article that reviewed multiple studies and was published in the journal Society & Animals in 2002, the death of a companion animal can be as devastating as the loss of a human significant other.

Stages of grief

People who have never had a pet might not understand the loss and may invalidate your feelings as you go through the grieving process, but don’t allow them to dictate your feelings. It is normal to feel devastated after the loss of a pet. It is common to believe that your dog or cat will still be around to greet you at the door when you arrive home. Many people feel disloyal if they decide to adopt another pet.

In her book, On Death & Dying, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. People do not cycle through these stages in a lock-step manner, sometimes anger comes first or denial comes third. It doesn't matter.

Denial is a normal part of the grieving process. Just make sure you don’t deny your grief. Allow yourself to express your feelings in any way that benefits you. Expressing your feelings can be truly cathartic.

Anger is a normal stage of grieving and it is common for pet owners to become angry at the “why” and “how” their pet died. Was it a terrible accident? Was it an incurable disease or illness?

Becoming angry at the reason for the pet’s passing might eventually lead to bargaining. You might say things to yourself such as: “If only I could have three more days with Fido.” The constant “what ifs” and “if onlys” can be extremely stressful and unsettling.

Depression or sadness is another stage in the Kübler-Ross model and, for many, the longest stage. Some people will always hold a small amount of sadness in their hearts for their beloved pets.

Acceptance is the final stage, but accepting a loss does not mean forgetting the memories. At this stage, you may feel like your life is becoming normal again and you may even consider adopting another pet.

Everyone grieves differently

Grief has no timeline and no boundaries. Everyone grieves differently and for dissimilar lengths of time. Your level of grief may depend on your age and personality, your pet’s age and personality, and the circumstances of your pet’s death, as well as the relationship between you and your animal. Often, individuals who live alone take longer to grieve because their companion played such an important role in their lives. The same is true for disabled people who lose a therapy- or seeing-eye dog because the animal was not just a companion but also a vital aid to their daily tasks.

If you or a loved one has recently lost a pet, try to remember your companion by keeping the love alive. Maybe frame a photo of your pet, plant a tree in your pet’s memory, create a symbolic gravestone, or, if you cremate your pet, keep the ashes somewhere special. Keeping the memories of your beloved companion alive can be the healthiest way to get through the grief.

Contributed by Kristen Fuller, M.D.

Beautiful article, thank you. I lost my beloved Oreo in February after 10 1/2 great years with him. The pain was unbaearable. It is amazing how insensitive some can be, like "it's only a dog"

Bonnie e

I totally get where your coming from. I had to have my dog Patch put down on Sunday. He was 15 and poorly. He's my first dog and I didn't realise how hard it would hit me. My parents have never had a dog and they mock me, because again it's the 'its only a dog' syndrome. I feel like I've got to hide my feelings, but I don't want to. It hurts like hell.

My gwo buddies

I am in so much pain today ( a month later). Both my dogs were 15 and both were ready to play up in the dog park. I miss them more than I could have imagined. I tell myself it was the right thing to do but sometimes I wish I would have waited another day or week.
I'm okay some of the time but I lost my feeling of joy that I had with them. They taught me so much and gave me so much happiness for 15 years making it easy to be a 'dog mom'

My two buddies

I am in so much pain today ( a month later). Both my dogs were 15 and both were ready to play up in the dog park. I miss them more than I could have imagined. I tell myself it was the right thing to do but sometimes I wish I would have waited another day or week.
I'm okay some of the time but I lost my feeling of joy that I had with them. They taught me so much and gave me so much happiness for 15 years making it easy to be a 'dog mom'

Lo.sing a pet

I have just lost my 16 year old beautiful boy. I can't stop crying. You are right it hurts like hell. I lost another dear girl two years ago. The grief is dreadful but you will learn to cope as I know I will eventually. i have another sweet little poppet I have to care for and know hat when the time comes, it will be awful, but that's the price we have to pay for the years of love that we share with them.

Loseing a pet

ya me to i just lost a five month old dog so i have been so depressed that i cant even get out of my chair in school i miss them two so much that i dont even know what to do anymore with my life

Movies help

For me watching things like Marley and Me helped. I mean they're sad, but cathartic.

Breakup then lost my kitty

I know how hard it is to loose a sweet pet. My lovable Mia disappeared after 3 years of always sleeping with me and never away. I am so depressed i can't get out of the house on my days off. Coming after a breakup was like a double hit. I'm trying to take yoga and meet people. Very difficult. No one wants to hear your troubles. Exercise and happy music might help but i think we have to grieve. Best wishes to you.


My Rottweiler Logan was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in Sept. I had his leg amputated 2 weeks after. The company I have worked at for 8 years fired me bc I went over a week after PTO. I wanted to be with Logan after his surgery and even had the vet write a letter. My boss said exactly the same thing, " it's just a dog. Not a person." He died April 4th. I will always be astonished at the lack of compassion from people that can say this. I am truly sorry for your loss.

Thank you

Thank you, Olivia
I am so sorry for your loss too. It’s so hard

Loss of pet

Never, never compare the loss of a pet to that with losing a child. "I know how you feel because my dog died", was something I heard after my child died.

Same idea

I've lost both, and while it may not be the same, it isn't all that different either. Many variables will often play a part, but for me it was definitely the same ballgame. A debilitating loss. A part of my heart ripped from my very soul. Not a day goes by without my companion and best friend crossing my mind, reminding me what you and devotion she brought to my otherwise empty life. She saved me. Period.

Loss of pet

The pain can be worse for some to lose their dog. You can't compare another person's loss, so you are right it's not the same. But their grief is just as real as yours. my dog was my child.

Pain from loss of pet

I am 86 years of age and lost my little guardian angel in August 2016. She was a Bichon Frise, and developed an abdominal cancer. She was always at my feet. When she wanted a treat she would sit up and extend her arms towards me in expectance. I always rewarded her. I loved her dearly and I have not yet gotten past having to have her euthanized. This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. There isn't a day that passes that I don't think of her ,and I choke up for awhile. As I sat for hours at my computer she would lie in her little basket I built for her. Her presence in my life definitely taught me many things. ….one of which is what true unconditional love really is.

Lost of a loved and caring pet.

Yes I really do understand. Mine little guy wasn't really my dog but Blaza was my daughters and I don't know if I am crazy or what but I am sure we had sort of strong connection to each other. He was ill and had to leave his people and I am finding it really hard. He passed in my daughters arms at the vets on 2/01/2109 so only new to this total heartbreak. I have had other pets and when they left I was sad and upset but somehow this seems so very difficult knowing I can't hold this little darling again. Blaza was a Maltese cross with a happy smiling face and a great personality and lots of love to anyone. I wish I could have had more time with him but the power of others( terrible people) and distance didn't allow it. So sad. Please find comfort George in the love your little mate gave you and you him. Take care and look towards heaven they are waiting for us. Gail

Its worse

It can be worse, depending on the circumstances. Losing our dog is the hardest thing I have ever had to go through, and I have went through a lot of trauma and loss. I don't even want to live without her.

I know the feeling

the pain is horrible i know. He was really my child. You know what keeps me going? The thought that he would want me to get better. He was always happy when seeing me happy. What wonderful creatures they are. Try to think this way too please, I know how hard it it. I am not sure how I'll deal with this pain yet, but I will try my best, for him. Grieve as much as you need, cry all your tears, but try to recover, step by step, because that's what your little baby would want you to do. This is what keeps me alive now.

I'm totally agree with you. My dear partner had to go (against all my pain and denial) because now I have realized the lessons she came to teach me which otherwise would learned. They were just masters of how living the present and be happy at all times.

If you say so

How would you know? Have you ever lost a dog? I'm sure losing your offspring must have been hard for you but that doesn't give you the right to invalidate someone else's experiences of losing something they loved.


It's really not . You carry something for nine months and plan them burying you and watching them grow into the best people and becoming active citizens . Doing great things making the world a better place and they die so young and you recognize all that the world could have lost .I Feel like comparing a dogs death to a child is disrespectful . A dog will simply always be a companion and will never not need you . Or not need you or grow up marry and pass traditions down to their children . Dog don't have life outside of their own. Its ridiculous how many people compare this to losing a child .

It's not the same as losing a

it's not the same as losing a child and i highly doubt most people would disagree with you. the PAIN we feel IS the same and the grieving process is just as important for those who lose a pet. people who lose pets need compassion too. why is this a problem for people anyway? let people do what they need to do to heal! if someone says they know how you feel because they lost their dog, they are not intending to belittle your loss of a child. they want you to know that they understand your pain.

It’s because your indirectly comparing a dead child to a dog . Which is offensive . Like it’s a compassionate gesture that’s is rude. Like you do go through the grieving process the same but you shouldn’t be like oh I know because I lost a dog . Because at the end of the day you can go adopt the same breed of dog and name it the same and the dogs look borderline identical but you can’t do that with a child . So it’s rude . That’s why it’s offensive and that why people care . People who have lost kids and it’s not not okay to belittle their children to animals .

It's offensive to YOU. we can

it's offensive to YOU. we can't speak for others. it's about the intention of the person speaking and doubt the intention is to lob an insult at a grieving parent. i don't believe there is anything that can be said to a parent who is grieving the loss of a child that is helpful quite frankly. everything about it hurts. it's inconsolable. i can't imagine losing a child. i don't think that ever heals. especially if the parent is responsible for the death. by accident i mean. the guilt would be unbearable.

It’s offensive to the parent . But if you truly believe that there nothing to be said do you think walking up to a grieving parent and being like oh I’m sorry I lost a dog I know how you feel is appropriate !? Like do you think that okay . When people have children they expect that child to live longer then them . When you get a dog at best the dog is only going to last 11 to 15 years the oldest dog was like 29 . Like do you think it’s fair to be like oh my dog died I know whay it’s like to lose a child no . Because most people know their dog is going to die while their still alive and first but most parent don’t . Like it’s offensive no matter how nice you try and put it .

No, i wouldn't choose those

no, i wouldn't choose those words because it would likely not be helpful and the idea is to be helpful.

what i am saying is that if a friend says something like that, it's unlikely that they are trying to undermine the loss. they are probably just not good at handling these kinds of situations. they are remembering the pain of loss.

They wouldn’t be a good

They wouldn’t be a good friend . Like you can excuse rude disrespectful behavior but you can’t expect others too . Like honestly
If my child died and someone said that too me or even made the comparison in my presence knowing my kid is dead . They would X out of my life . Like I’ve had a dog that died and I was so young it put me in a shock sadly ( I was 4 ) . Like I didn’t understand why my bff died . And as I got older some was stolen . The pain was tragic both dead and undead . Another died when I was older. But I’ve seen people who have lost kids and had the common sense not to be like I understand because I had some tragic dog losses . Because we don’t

I came here because we just

i came here because we just had to have our cat euthanized. she became ill very suddenly. she ended up having FIP, which is 100% deadly, what's worse is that i made a mistake and brought a kitten into our home that carries the virus and it ended up killing our beloved friend. she was and is a part of our hearts. we are grieving right now. i know that some day it will pass and i will remember the good things. she was only 5 so we were expecting 8 to 10 more years and she was so bright and alive and all of the sudden she sank like a rock.

right now, if i see a toy of hers i breakdown. my husband disposed of all of her belongings for me because it was too much for me. he accidentally forgot to get rid of some of her food in the fridge and when i saw it, i broke down. just before we took her to be euthanized, my whole body shook. i still shake at the time of her death..i do it without thinking. it just comes over me.

i miss her sleeping with us. she was an absolute sweetheart. she would look into my eyes and rub my nose. when she got sick, she barely acknowledged me. it was so painful. when we finally took her to be put down, just before the vet performed the procedure, she looked into my eyes and rubbed my nose. i fell apart. my heart is broken. if i had a friend lose a child, i wouldn't compare my loss to her loss but believe me, i'm feeling loss and pain right now.

Sorry for your loss . I came

Sorry for your loss . I came here to try and understand my boyfriend reaction when he lost his dog . Homie went down bad and I hate to say grieved as if a person died . Something I was slightly confused on so I researched the topic. I understand grieving for things is a personal thing . I just felt the original comment was a little extra was the only reason I commented . Like my whole live dogs have been my friends but never the same
To human value In my eyes as far as life goes . Even thought I cried a few day when mines died , the other stolen . But I was always over it within a month . So I needed help to help him .

I think he will be fine but

i think he will be fine but we all grieve differently. there are some stories in the comments that could be helpful to you. it's nice to have people who understand.

That's fine

And people who lost kids had better keep quiet about know how we feel when we lost pets if they never had any. This page is about losing pets not about making people feel like crap because some of you think pets aren't as important as people.

And people who lost kids had better keep quiet about know how we feel when we lost pets if they never had any. This page is about losing pets not about making people feel like crap because some of you think pets aren't as important as people.

I totally agree. why do humans think we are more privileged than other animals on this planet? is my life more precious than, say a lion's or . whatever animal? We all have same right to life on this Earth and we all are equal, animals and humans. I lost my dog daughter three yrs ago and I still cry and I still want to die, and it hurts like hell. it hurts so much, my soul hurts. And any of you people out there who think that we are crazy or whatever 'cause we are grieving after animal can get the f*&k out of this topic, this is about loosing a pet, not loosing a human child.

And yet

Study after study have shown losing a pet can be AS bad or worse for pet owners. People should ALL use some common sense whether it's a pet or a family member or friend and not make stupid comments. And they also need to stop trying to make themselves feel superior by pointing out they think humans are more valuable than pets. Because, quite honestly, I don't know their kids, and don't care about them. So if I had the choice of keeping my cats alive, or their kids I'd pick my cats every day. Just like some people with that choice would pick their kids over other people's kids. My cats ARE my kids. To me.

Why are you on this site?

You seem to be here just to be a jerk about comparing people's pets to parents losing children. To some of us without children these ARE our children. Sorry if that doesn't equate to you, but you trying to make other people feel like their loss isn't as real is asinine. Study after study have shown it's just as bad and sometimes much worse. So go ahead and keep thinking it's no big deal when people lose pets.


You're obviously here to troll. Does it make you feel better to point out to people that in your opinion the loss of a pet is no big deal?


The way you're dismissive of people's pets is astonishing. YOU can go have your child cloned. We have the technology, so following your logic of just getting another do of the same breed you can just go clone your dead child and have another one.

Because you no one think

Because you no one think their child is going to die before them . But the dog legit only has 16 years if your lucky . Like you can clone a child but it’s not perfected yet and not accessible to the public . Buying a dog is damn near free .

This article is affirming the

This article is affirming the deep pain and loss that comes with losing a special, once-in-a-lifetime pet. I just lost my special cat. There will never be another special cat like him in my life. He was a once in a lifetime blessing. He was so unique, so intelligent, so silly, so expressive, so athletic, so easygoing, so adorable, so loving, so friendly. He was amazing. He was such a blessing. He found me in my front yard when he was a kitten and decided to stay with me for almost 18 years. Through the years I always thought I would one day have a child of my own. That never happened. Thankfully this one of a kind cat magically appeared 18 years ago. He brought me so much happiness. He was so wonderful.

The insensitive people posting comments about how children are one of a kind, but pets can be replaced with an identical. are the kind of people who shouldn't be breeding identical versions of themselves.

Child vs pet death

the main thing here is that this is a space for people who are grieving the loss of a beloved pet. it's not meant to be a support group for those who have lost a child. it's very unkind that this space has been hijacked by people angrily telling us it's not as bad as losing a child. that's off topic and the reason we need a support group for losing a pet is because it can be hard to find people who understand. i don't have anyone to talk to when i lose a pet. it's helpful to have the support of people who understand.

My furbaby death

Wow . I came to this article for some guidance and I fell sick and am in tears. I dont have any children and my husband died tragically in a MVA 6 years but I had a dog .She the other great love of my life she licked my tears and consoled me when nothing could brought me back to life and saved me from the darkside . we never spent a day apart she got sick and declined quickly but i knew years ago she would never make me take her to a vet and she didnt .She held on like a brave and forgiving soul never complaining once like she didnt want me to have suffer. a few days ago she fell against the door trying to get outside to pee and couldnt get up she looked so distraught she had peed in house she was a big pitty My friend and i picked her carried her to the bed where we had snuggled every night since i had her.i gave her some pain medicine , aliitle bath and a massage a whispered all my love to her for hours telling her it was okay for her to people left in the middle of the night ,exhausted and heartbroken i cuddled up behind my girl with my head buried in neck my arms around and fell asleep .when i woke up she was all but gone except a flicker her in eyes as she looked right into my soul and closed them for the last time. I am completely devastated and well actually cant believe how insensitive people on this post can be This was my child and I see only darkness I dont expect everyone to understand but rather respect the grief. no wonder my dog was the best person I knew

So sorry

i know exactly how you feel. we just lost a kitty who was an absolute doll. it happened fast and she was only 5. her history was a bit sad before she was adopted by us but she still had an innocent and gentle spirit. very special. loved being held and talked to. she had a virus that was incurable so we had to have her euthanized. she looked in my eyes and rubbed my nose right when the dr. began the injection. it nearly destroyed me.
we are just crushed and heart broken. when we are ready, we plan to adopt another rescue. she can't be replaced but it's very loving to take in an animal in need and that's something we can do to help make a difference in this world. i am glad you had such a great friend to help you through your grief.

you don't have to worry about insensitive comments made anonymously on the internet. this very compassionate article and the comment board is here for you and all of us who understand.
right now your energy needs to be focussed on grieving and taking care of yourself.
there are people who do not understand and for some reason they are not willing to try to be understanding and be supportive. it's good to recognize these people and stay away from them right now. i don't talk to my family because they are not compassionate people. i don't want to be hurt further. it's unfortunate but i don't control their feelings.
may i suggest that you find a thoughtful therapist to talk to?relying on the internet for support can be great but you do run the risk of opinions that might be hurtful.
you aren't alone. your pain is real and you deserve compassion. please take good care of yourself.

The other love of your life

Dear Dog Mom
Unfortunately, a minority of people who are not necessarily grieving the loss of their pet have stumbled on this blog and because of their own grief (loss of a child) are not as empathetic to those who have lost pets. Please ignore comments that add to your pain and draw comfort from those who are in your position.

It came across the blog when I lost my furry princess "Summer". She was such a loyal and loving member of our family and eased the emptiness of our home when our 4 children grew up and flew the next. Summer was a happy character who sensed when you weren't well and would curl up next to you as long as you were poorly. She kept going when she got cancer and taking her to the vets for the last time wrenched our hearts out. My hubby howled with grief in the middle of the night. For weeks our grief went on and I could not explain why we felt like this. I must explain that we are both nurses and we have lost our own parents and other family members. We are used to dealing with death and the dying. We were not prepared for the deep sense of loss, desolation and despair we felt. This blog helped me make sense of my feelings.

So I am reaching out to you to tell you that I can totally empathise with your pain and grief. It does ease but you will never forget your fur baby. Be kind to yourself and hold on to the happy memories that you have had. My post script to this is that 1 year ago we adopted another precious bundle. "Ruby" lost both her former parents within 2 weeks of each other and came to us still in grief herself. We found our hearts opening to her and she is now a big part of our lives now. She will never replace Summer but she is another darling to love. Wishing you peace xx

Thank you

Rexie, you are a saint. Thank you for your understanding, love, and support. (And, thank you for stopping that heartless, nasty thread in it's tracks.)

Sorry for your loss

Some of these people are idiots and not pet lovers and will never get it.

Death of loving pet/kid

You are wrong. I've lost both kid+ dog to death. I cry more about my dog's death. I wanna die too, but I got another dog. When this dog dies it'll probably kill me too.

Why did you even post

Trying to make pet owners feel guilty? Know what, ordinarily I would feel bad for someone losing a child. But because you are a heartless biiiiitch, screw you. You don't understand anything. And because of your cold useless heart you deserve all the grief you get!

Lo.sing a pet

No, it's not the same as losing a child. That is the most dreadful thing. Never the less, it is still devastating.

What do you mean it's not the same?

Studies have shown it can be much worse than losing a child. Do some research before just throwing things like that out there. And only someone who lost a child and a pet would be able to make that comparison, and only if they truly loved both, and even then it would be subjective. I lost one of my best friends to suicide and I lost the closest thing to me when my cat died. If I could bring one of them back I'd take my cat every single time. My cat didn't choose to end his life, my cat loved me unconditionally, and my cat fought to stay alive actually beating death a year prior when the vet said it was time. My cat was stronger and more loving than any human I've ever met.

My Soul Mate

Lost my will to live after my Hallelujah girl died. She was and is my soul mate.

Sorry (

So sorry for your loss LoveHalle. Stay strong, in time the pain will not consume you. There is a really good facebook page for people who have lost their furry soulmates.
Go there and share your story, there's lots of support! Take care :)

Sorry to hear that

Hi LoveHalle. I'm so sorry to hear that. I know how you feel, I feel the same way. I'm just wandering around like a ghost, feeling like nothing matters anymore. But in time it won't be as bad as this. I won't forget my little buddy but it won't be as raw. I try to remind myself that I've been here before, you just have to bunker down and get through it.

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