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How to Support Someone Who Has Lost a Pet

By Catherine Pearson | Published March 1, 2024 Updated March 5, 2024

Few things hurt like losing a pet. Even Jon Stewart, the “The Daily Show” host,
broke down on air when he announced the death of his beloved, three-legged
brindle pit bull, Dipper — a raw, touching segment that exemplified the deep grief
many pet owners feel.

When an animal dies, owners lose companionship, affection and “just plain
unconditional love — and we don’t find that in many places in our lives,” said
Sherry Cormier, a psychologist and author of “Sweet Sorrow: Finding Enduring
Wholeness After Loss and Grief.”

Our society tends to be “grief-phobic,” Dr. Cormier said, and there is a sense that
the feelings prompted by the loss of a pet are relatively low in the hierarchy of
suffering, or that it’s something that people should be able to cope with and move
on from quickly. Dr. Cormier and other loss experts said that is not always true;
and they shared ways to help a loved one through the loss of a pet…

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