I remember each time like it was yesterday. That moment where I’ve had to say my last goodbye to a best friend, as I watched the life slip out of their eyes and finally be at peace. I choke up a little just even writing these words because the memories come flooding back.
For me, losing a dog has been harder in most instances than losing almost every human that I was close to in my life. I can’t bury the fact that I’ve even harbored some guilt for getting more emotional and upset when I’ve lost a dog than I have when I’ve lost a human I was close to.
The Mystery That’s Puzzled Me For Years
Why I get more emotional over losing a dog than a human has always puzzled me. How is it that I can get more upset over losing a four-legged friend than a Grandfather or Grandmother? After all, “it’s just a dog” is what I’ve heard from numerous people throughout my life.
How is it that I’ve cried like a baby when my four-legged friend passed away in my arms, but not when a human that I’ve known much longer, does? If people really knew the truth of how I reacted to the passing of my dog vs the passing of an important human in my life, what would they think of me?
This has been one of life’s great mysteries for myself up until recently, and I’ve thought about this a lot. The conclusion that I came to has helped me not only unravel this great mystery but also let go of the guilt that followed me around this subject.
Here’s The Real Reason Why Losing A Dog Can Be Harder Than Losing A Human
What I concluded about this mystery is this. The bond between dog and man is nothing short of a primal one. Something that’s ingrained in our DNA and one that is more powerful than most people realize.
If you’ve ever lived with a dog you’ve no doubt experienced the unconditional love they provide you. To this day I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced that with a human counterpart. It’s in a human’s nature, no matter how hard they try no to, to love conditionally.
Whether it’s something that you did to disappoint another human, or it’s just not being able to live up to their personal expectations, humans naturally only show love unconditionally when things are perfect in their own world view.
Dogs, on the other hand, see you at your worst and still show up eager to please every time you walk in the room. I’ve seen it time and again. Humans doing things to a dog that they wouldn’t think of doing to another human, yet the dog still wakes up the next day, tail wagging, and just as accepting and eager to please as the day before.
Unconditional Love Is The Answer To The Riddle
The unconditional love that your dog shows you, forms the strongest of bonds that I believe causes these emotions to be so real when a best friend leaves this earth. My dog has seen me at my worst and still accepted me and loved me when it felt like no one else would.
My dog is the only living being on this earth that I don’t have to worry about judging me. Although I may not acknowledge and appreciate this fact as much as I should while they are alive, as I sit and watch them leave this earth, it all quickly catches up to me in that moment.
This is why I grieve for my dog more than I do my human loved ones, and coming to this realization has removed the guilt I carried around it. In the end, a dog is not really, “just a dog”.
They are a friend and family member that’s just as important to me as any human I love in my life, and they are the only one that truly understands me and accepts me for who I am. I have every right to grieve for them as much or more than any human loved one, and you do too.