Can losing a dog be harder than losing a person?

My entire life, I have always stressed that only dog people are able to comprehend how difficult is to have a furry friend leave you.

My family lost one of our pups, Sammy, a blue heeler, roughly a year-and-a-half ago. It was quite honestly one of the most difficult experiences I have had to endure, and yes, that includes the loss of other loved ones in my life.

After the emotionally draining experience of losing Sammy, I questioned as to whether my sadness was warranted, or perhaps dramatic. I was confused because I felt like I was more upset when my dog passed away than I have been when family members have passed, and I honestly felt guilty for how I responded to the situation.

I came across an article from TONIC recently, titled “Mourning a Dog Can Be Harder than Mourning a Person,” and quite a few excerpts from this piece resonated with me deeply.

“Recently, my wife and I went through one of the more excruciating experiences of our lives—the euthanasia of our beloved dog, Murphy. I remember making eye contact with Murphy moments before she took her last breath—she flashed me a look that was an endearing blend of confusion and the reassurance that everyone was ok because we were both by her side.

“When people who have never had a dog see their dog-owning friends mourn the loss of a pet, they probably think it’s all a bit of an overreaction; after all, it’s ‘just a dog.’ However, those who have loved a dog know the truth: Your own pet is never “just a dog.”

If anyone has ever summed up the pain of losing a pet, it’s the author of this article. When Sammy passed, I felt sadness like I never had before, and I dread when the day comes when I must say goodbye to Sammy’s living brother, Jake, who has become a significant source of happiness, joy and comfort in my own life.

The article states how “research has confirmed that for most people, the loss of a dog is, in almost every way, comparable to the loss of a human loved one,” and I couldn’t agree more.

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