Pet Loss: The Interface of Continuing Bonds Research and Practice: Betty J. Carmack and Wendy Packman
INTENSITY OF LOSING A LOVED ANIMAL COMPANION The death of a pet induces grief responses of comparable severity to the loss of human relationships (Archer, 1997; Carmack, 2003; Clements, Benasutti, & Carmone, 2003; Field, Orsini, Gavish, & Packman, 2009). “The emotional attachment which many humans develop for their pets … frequently transcends the emotional attachment which they form with humans” (DeGroot, 1984, p. 283). In fact, people often describe being more emotionally attached to their pets than to humans in their lives (Barker & Barker, 1988; Carmack, 1985). Animal companions provide emotional qualities-a sense of security and well-being, unconditional love, and acceptance-that are dif–cult to attain or sustain in relationships with people (Sharkin & Knox, 2003).