Losing a pet is like losing family, and grieving helps us heal
I am writing in response to the recent column by Alex Lo, “Tears for pets often easier than for humans” (April 20).
People really should not feel ashamed to grieve for their pets. Pets are comforting company. In Hong Kong, they play an important role in a family, a lot of owners even regard pets as their children. Playing with pets is a good way to reduce stress and depression, and works better than medicines do.
Pets are irreplaceable in a family. In grieving for our departed pets, we may sometimes face judgment from others who say, “It was just a pet, you can always get another one”. Those words make us question whether we should be grieving this much for the death of our non-human companion.
I believe it is healthy to deeply mourn a deceased pet. Researchers in Hawaii found that nearly a third of bereaved pet owners grieved for six months or longer. Every time we cry or experience an emotional outburst, our mind is healing and dealing with the experience of loss. Suppressing our emotions can affect us physically and mentally, causing us to lose weight or develop depression. I strongly agree that there is no need for people to feel ashamed of crying for their dead pets.
Celeste Leung, Sha Tin