Question: Dear Luise: I get so attached to my pets that when they die, I want to die, too. I remember every loss so clearly. Sometimes when I am just driving my car, such grief comes over me that I feel paralyzed. I think of what I did that I shouldn’t have done, or what I could have done and didn’t. It’s terrible and it’s never-ending. I love pets more than people. I can’t bear not to have one, but they have such short life spans. Please help me. Jo
Answer: Dear Jo: This is something that is very familiar to most of us. Pets can give us such love and we can feel so understood and supported by them. They don’t have a long list of things we ought to do or be. It’s pretty refreshing.
Some people have two pets so they can be company for each other. Then they have one left when they lose the other. I did that for a long time but my current Chihuahua, “Me, Too”, thinks he ownes the place.
Often the hardest part in all of this is to have our pets take their rightful place in our lives. They can’t be the “be all/end all” for us. No one and nothing can give us that. If we expect them to, we are missing the point. Pets are meant to be part of our lives, not our reason for living.
It’s true that we are all different and that some of us feel loss more acutely than others. Still, the way you describe your experience sounds like you may need to have some help with this. Talk with someone who is solid and who is interested in you. It doesn’t have to be a counselor, but it could be. Something in your life may be out of balance. You may have experienced abuse and not feel trusting for very good reasons. Ask another person to help you through this and on into a broader experience of life and what it has to offer. Yes, even beyond pets. Blessings, Luise