It is tough enough when a devoted animal lover loses their cat or dog - the idea that one could mourn an animal as deeply (or more deeply) than a human is challenging for some folks to wrap their head around.....
But what happens when the animal who has passed isn't cute and furry? What about if your beloved companion was:
- A Fish or a Toad?
- A Snake?
- A Lizard or Other Reptile?
- A Bird or a Spider?
Love comes in many forms and cannot really be explained - I have a dear friend who is a reptile expert, and she was in pieces for a year over the loss of her beloved boa constrictor. She has her name tatooed on her arm and still gets teary discussing her, just as any other heartbroken animal lover. My cousin had a snake who was terribly attached to him. And before I was a Cat Momma, I had parakeets who I loved dearly as a child.
But at the loss of an unconventional animal, comments can be downright mean:
- But that's not the same thing as a cat or a dog - snakes are slimey!
- You snuggled with your lizard? That's just weird....
- But that's not a REAL pet....
It takes an extra level of compassion to love an unusual pet - much as it takes extra compassion to love an unusual human. One looks past the "differences" and sees deeper into a soul that feels, loves, comforts and shares our lives, just as any other creature whom we take into our home. And they are members of the family just like any cat or dog.
For compassionate listening, try these organizations: http://snakes-n-scales.com/ or http://www.reptilerescue.com/index.html - they seem to love lots of unconventional creatures and can direct you to folks who will not scoff at the grief you feel.
There are pet loss chats that take place here at various times throughout the week:
http://www.aplb.org/chat/chat_petloss.php - you might email them and ask if they know of other folks who will listen, or just get into one of the chat rooms and give it a try.
The loss of any beloved creature can be a tragedy for someone who was committed to their care, bonded with them, snuggled them and had to make the hard decision to let them go at the end. That is the same pain whether that creature has fur, scales, fins or feathers. Love is Love.
My Ten Tall Tales of Grief & Loss™ apply to animal loss, as well as human - you can read those here.
You may also find my book Putting Out the Fire useful during this period, as well, for Truths about loss and empowering tools you can use for your healing journey - it's the only book of its kind.
If you would like to speak to me personally about the above subject or any topic surrounding Grief, Loss, coaching or healing, click here to set aside a personal Free ½ Hour Empowerment Call. You are not alone.
Claire M. Schwartz
Leading You Back into the Light after Loss