Equal pain: experiencing the mourning of pets is important for the owners’ mental health – 04/05/2021

Laboratory technician Dinalva Santos is still unable to look at her photos with puppy Mel, who died on November 8 of last year.

“She passed away at the age of 20, due to cancer. She was at home and stopped eating. After the second day without food, I took her to a veterinarian, who advised me to end her suffering, as I had no way of reversing my condition. picture “, she remembers with emotion. After that, Dinalva developed a condition of depression and had to seek psychiatric help. Undergoes medication and therapy.

Some people find it strange that someone suffers so much for the death of a pet, but the specialists consulted by Live well they claim that the pain and grief over a pet can be exactly the same as when a loved one dies.

Although in the medical literature mourning is related to the death of a human, a similar process also occurs when we lose something very close and dear, like an animal, a relationship, a job or an object.

The psychoanalyst Rochelle Aweida Veras says that, at the time of the loss of a pet, people nearby need to respect what the pet owner is going through and be careful not to be rude. “It is necessary to respect the pain, not to judge the person and, mainly, not to minimize the suffering with phrases like: ‘Era just a dog, there is no reason for all this’ “, he explains.

Respecting this pain is very important so that the person can go through all the stages of grief until he reaches acceptance, which is when he is able to deal with the loss with less suffering, he goes back to the normality of his life, adapting to the new reality until the mourning end.

Generally, a grieving process lasts from three months to a year, and can check up to two. If the sadness does not subside and the individual is unable to return to life, he is constantly feeling guilty and unhappy, the problem becomes a pathological mourning. In this case, depression can come into play and it is important to seek professional help, such as psychiatric or psychotherapeutic treatment.

End of pain and back up

Grief over the loss of dog Cindy helped Márcia find the strength for a major life change

Image: Personal archive

The businesswoman Márcia Zenezi, 50, also suffered a painful process and went into depression because of the loss of his little dog But Cindy turned her deep sadness into a major change in her life.

“I lost Cindy in a way I never imaginary. I forgot the door to the open house and she went to the neighbor. I was 16 years old and I couldn’t see well. He ended up falling and drowning in the pool “, he says.

Grieving helped her to realize how toxic her relationship was and to make important decisions like getting divorced and overcoming obesity after another 40 years of trying to lose weight – she lost 40 kg.

“When Cindy died, instead of supporting me, my ex-husband blamed me and called me a murderer and a ‘forgotten old woman’, said that I would never find someone else if I separated. That was the starting point for starting to look at me, to understand that I needed to love myself more and make several decisions, like getting divorced, having a healthier diet and exercising “, says Márcia, who wrote a book about Cindy. “Our story was a lot of love “, she is moved.

Care at the time of farewell

Dinalva hardly had time to prepare for the farewell of the puppy Mel

Image: Personal archive

The time of departure of an animal can become even more painful for the owner when there is no previous period of preparation and death happens in an accident or in a few days after discovering an illness, as in the case of Mel, daughter of four legs from Dinalva.

“The days after Mel’s death were very painful for me, I couldn’t eat, I didn’t even have the strength to walk. My gaze was stopped at nothing and I had visions as if she were still there, after all it was 20 years by my side . I didn’t enter my room for months, because she was always there, “he recalls.

Just as there are several ways to experience grief, parting can also happen in many ways. “There is no rule. The person may feel more comfortable taking it to cremation or burying it, or he wants to get rid of things soon so he doesn’t have to think about it,” says Veras.

Psychologist Daiane Daumichen, a specialist in behavioral therapy, points out other aspects of this farewell. “A very challenging thing is what to do with the pet’s things. It is easy to say to eliminate it right away so as not to look and remember. But each one has their own way of dealing, there are the most practical ones who do not want to have the visual appeal to awaken a feeling, already others need that to go through this whole process “, he says.

The specialist recommends, in case the person feels that he / she needs extra time to say goodbye to these objects, take a box and keep it in a reserved place. “Whenever you miss or need to remember, use that space. It is better than throwing everything away on impulse and then torturing yourself for not having any more memories of the pet”, he says.

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