By Coleen Ellis

Yet again, I had a grieving pet parent share with me the hurtful things a well-meaning friend said to them after their beloved cat of 17 years died. “It’s just a cat, are you seriously crying this hard over her?” was said to her by a close friend. It was like a kick in her stomach, on top of her almost paralyzing grief.

For you and I, we get the human-animal bond. We get the absolutely amazing rush of love we get from our animals, and the rush of love we give to our animals. It’s organic for a pet lover, and comes naturally to those who get it. It’s not fake, it’s not given out of duty, it’s given because we want to give it, and get it.

I hate to make this topic about statistics, but it has to be in part. Sixty-five percent of our U.S. population has a pet. Do the math. That means thirty-five percent of our population does not have a pet, and more than likely don’t understand the bond shared between a human and a non-human thing. It is what it is. While they don’t get the emotions loving pet parents feel when their pets die, I can assure you they did not also understand the relationship shared while the pet was alive.

Here’s another fact: we don’t get NOT loving an animal. They don’t get LOVING an animal.

For you, the grieving pet parent, knowing who you are safe to share your grief with is really key in this aspect. Most everyone will generally have someone in their circle of family or friends who “just doesn’t get it.” But, also remember we don’t get them either! Doesn’t make us right and them wrong, or vice versa. It just is.

So for your healthy grief journey, share your broken heart only with those who will get it. Don’t take this time to try and get others to understand the human-animal bond. Now is not the time. Maybe later. But not now.

For now, find those that will be a healthy support, those that are like you and get it.