scimommy: (Default)
[personal profile] scimommy
This isn't a question regarding a course of action, it's more like a general question about attitude. 

I am very friendly with my former boss. She loves animals and has always owned different kinds of pets, but first and foremost she is a dog person. When I met her 8 years ago she owned two dogs. Two years ago one of the dogs died. He was almost twelve years old, and she said that it was about the life expectancy for his breed (don't ask me what the breed was - something large, maybe a black lab). A few days ago she sent me a despondent email saying that she held her second dog that morning as he died. As far as I could understand it, he had a tumor pressing on his spinal cord and he had been in a lot of pain for a week or two while they got him diagnosed, and they decided not to torture him further and to euthanize him. He was only seven years old. Her email was extremely dark, saying that her husband was in such a bad place (he was very close to this dog, apparently) that she was worried for the future of her family, that they just lost a family member, etc. I tried to be as supportive as I could, based on my very limited perspective of someone who never owned a pet.

The next day she and I talked on the phone. She sounded ok, we talked about work, then switched to family stuff. She said that she knew they were going to be ok, stay strong for their son, etc. Then all of a sudden she says "I wanted to get a puppy for Christmas but I don't know if we will..." I was shocked, seeing how I absolutely bought into the whole "losing a family member" analogy. In my view, if you lose a family member (God forbid!), you don't get a new one for Christmas. You go through the grieving process, and then, eventually, maybe find someone else to fulfill similar roles. If losing a pet is, for lack of a better word, a lesser loss than losing a family member (God forbid!), if it's maybe in between that and wrecking your favorite Porche, then yes, you can get a new one for Christmas.

So, dear pet owners, please enlighten me with your perspective. Is it like losing a family member? And if it is, is it still compatible with getting a new one for Christmas?

Date: 2009-12-19 06:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am the wrong person to ask (I have been a pet owner in the past, but I don't consider them a family member to the same extent as human family members), but I understand your boss.

Date: 2009-12-19 06:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think I do, too, or at least I see how it would be reasonable to want a puppy at this point. It's just that it seems incompatible with equating the loss of a dog to that of a human family member.


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