beloved

The other day, on facebook, I read a comment saying in a rather sarcastic manner that some people see pets as kids but the only connection is the responsibility. I know that not all people have that kind of connection with pets. And it’s true that the most beloved pet is not the same as a human child. I don’t know any pet parents that don’t know the difference.

We say kids because it’s the closest analogy to what we feel. I’ve always thought of my pets, my babies, as somewhere between toddlers and teenagers. Like children, we don’t adopt a pet with the idea that if it doesn’t work out we can always get rid of it. Like human children, our furry kids have different personalities, they seem to know just what buttons to push to drive us mad, and we love them more than they probably love us.

One of the big differences between human and furry children is that we know, we know that they will die before us. We love them anyway. We risk the hurt of the loss that we know from the beginning is coming. The loss of a furry child is very hard. I will come to tears if I think about the deaths of any of my beloved pets. But I know that does not translate into the loss of a human child. I can’t even imagine what that must be like.

We know the difference. We do not talk about our love of our pets in order to disparage the love you have for your human children. But please do not tell me that I’m crazy for loving my little furry friends. They each were family in their own way. Their loss was real. If you don’t understand that, then I feel sorry for you.

perky

tab fishing

george

on the fridge

fred visits the statue garden small

stasia

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9 thoughts on “beloved”

  1. Oh, I know exactly who that was and you have to disregard him. He has all sorts of issues and doesn’t even make sense a lot of the time. (he has MS, so I don’t know if that is part of it or not) I did respond to him and hope that you saw that as well. I am establishing a decent relationship with Mari and have always had pets, mainly dogs until the past couple of years. I did get seriously attacked though when I tried to say a few years ago that losing a child or spouse is not the same as losing a pet. There was quite a furor and lots of criticism about how stupid and unfeeling I was. Everyone is different and we have a variety of relationships with our pets and people. What I should have said was that I personally could never compare my children, spouse, parents or siblings to a dog or cat. Although all living beings are irreplaceable, a person you have lived with and loved for decades(or for your whole life) is truly that.

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    1. We’ve talked before about this and I didn’t think you were responsible for your friend. It’s just that it’s not an uncommon criticism. I remember that krefluffle when you tried to say that losing a pet is not the same as losing a spouse or child. I really do think most people understand that and I’m sorry some of your friends responded so harshly.

      I’m not sure on the other side that people who don’t have that same connection with pets know that it’s real grief when a pet dies. When my dog Fred died, it was the worst grief I had ever experienced. I have not lost that many real people close to me. He loved me more than anyone except probably my mom. I expect, however, when Mom dies that it will be worse than Fred.

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  2. I too have felt the grief when a pet dies, but have mostly gone out and gotten another cat or dog. (except recently since I have Mari) 🙂 It’s hard to predict how you’ll feel when your mom dies; you’ve been grieving her “loss” for years, but that often doesn’t help. No matter how prepared we think we are, the finality of it IS different.

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    1. I completely agree about Mom. Remember a couple years ago when we put her on hospice? I had thought that I was “prepared” since, like you say, I have been grieving her loss for years. But that really threw me. Perhaps no matter how much we know there is no real hope for recovery, really facing the end is different. (and then she did improve physically…. this journey is crazy)

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  3. Good for you Zazzy, stick to your principles. I’ve never understood why one type of love or attachment has to seen as more valid than any other. We cried buckets when our cat, May-cat, got run over in June. We were all devastated and I’m still cross with her for not looking where she was going, as she’s a great loss to the family. And I now find myself strangely attached to a goldfish that my little one won at the fair a couple of weeks ago. He’s attached to the fish, and to his teddy bear, and would be devastated if anything happened to it. He gets upset if it falls off the bed when I’m making it. If course it would be the end of the world if anything happened to my husband or son, but it doesn’t make the other things less important to the people experiencing them. All perfectly reasonable in my view.

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    1. I agree with you Polly that one type of love or attachment is not more valid than another. I do recognize that they can be different and we can’t necessarily equate one with another. The only people I get fed up with are the ones that laugh at those of us who consider our pets as part of the family.

      Goldfish are dangerous to get attached to! Though we had some who lived for years. We used to have pond goldfish that were quite large and would come and take food from my fingers. They also seemed to enjoy being lightly pet. And I had a beta that would swim over to the side of the bowl and wiggle excitedly when I arrived in the morning. I chose to interpret that as him being pleased to see me, not the fact that was also when I fed him.

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  4. I have human children and kitty children. Although I’d throw myself in front of an oncoming train to save my children, and I probably/possibly wouldn’t do the same to save my adored Clarence The Wonder Kitty, the love I feel for him seems pretty close to the love I feel for my kids. And I’ve seen way too many people mourn and grieve over the loss of a pet to question how deeply loved pets can be. People who make sarcastic comments about pet-lovers are both stupid and ignorant. And let’s toss in mean-spirited also.

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    1. Agreed Pam. I totally understand that not everyone feels the same way about pets, but the mean spirited, sarcastic people who think that we’re crazy get my goat.

      I have not read that blog. It sounds like now might be a very sad time to start reading it.

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