What Makes Dogs So Special and Why Losing Them Hurts So Much?

What Makes Dogs So Special and Why Losing Them Hurts So Much

There is something about dogs that makes them really special to us. Having a dog is one of the most beautiful things in life. But, when we have to say goodbye to our fellow companions, the feelings are not that good. Actually, the feelings are devastating.

When our dog gets sick, and the situation is serious, we become aware that it may leave us. And, looking at its eyes just a moment before our beloved pet passes away is heartbreaking.

Sometimes, people who do not own a dog, and when they see others mourning over the loss of a precious pet, they think it is an overreaction. They may even say something like “come on, it is just a dog.” But polite people would never say this aloud.

If you own a dog, you know that it is never “just a dog,” it is much more than that. Here is a stanza by Rudyard Kipling that captures this sentiment:

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or a tumor, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find – it’s your own affair –
But … you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

There are many times in which people grieve over the loss of a pet than over a loss of a relative or a friend. According to research, the loss of a dog is almost the same as the loss of a beloved human being.

Sadly, in our culture, there is not anything like a grief ritual or something else that may help us get through the loss of our beloved pet. And, this makes us feel a little bit embarrassed to show a lot of grief over a loss of a dog.

What Makes Dogs So Special?

Dogs are the only animal that has managed to evolve and become our friend and companion. The Domestication Hypothesis developed by Anthropologist B. Hare, explains how dogs became socially skilled animals.

Actually, dogs give us unconditional love and positive feedback, and sometimes the relationship we have with our pet is more satisfying than our human relationships.

We are happy when we interact with dogs, and sometimes just looking at your pet may make you smile. Interestingly, people who own dogs show better scores on the measurement of well-being, and usually, they are much happier than people who own cats or do not own any pets.

Also, dogs feel the same way about us. According to MRI scans, the brains of dogs respond to our praise in the same way as they respond to food. For some dogs, praise is a better reward than food.

Studies say that dogs recognize people from their faces, and they can also understand human intentions, and they may even avoid people who do not treat us well.

Our beloved dogs are skilled in understanding words, and they use their vocalizations in order to communicate. A study of misnaming reveals the strong attached to our dogs.

Often, parents mistakenly call their kids by their sibling’s name, and the same happens with the name of dogs. So, this shows how much connected we are with our pets.

Why the Loss of a Dog Hurts So Much?

Julie Axelrod is a psychologist who says that losing a dog means losing many other things. When we lose our dog, we may lose a friend, an endless love, someone who is there to provide us comfort and security, and sometimes even a protégé.

Losing a dog seriously affects your daily routines, and it may affect you much more than a loss of a friend or a relative. Some people may even become depressed because of the loss of a dog to which they were too attached.

As it appears, dealing with the death of your adored pet is hard, and you deserve to grieve and not be ashamed of it. Now, if you own a dog, go and cuddle with it.