Tuesday, October 02, 2007

An Analysis of Human Grief at the Loss of a Beloved Animal

In her article entitled, The Ambivalent Bond with a Ball of Fur, published today, The New York Times science writer Natalie Angier muses on the recent death of her beloved cat, Cleo, noting that she was somewhat taken aback at the extent of her grief at his passing.

She attempts to dissect the glue of the human-animal bond, but doesn't quite succeed, in my view. Ms. Angier is a science writer, after all, and she paints a rather dispassionate view of the traits that make our animal companions so beloved to so many people, while noting with some disdain that "we abandon difficult pets, and shelters euthanize some 10 million pets a year."

I simply do not share Ms. Angier's ambivalence about the rightful place of animals in my life. I embrace them without worrying about whether I am being too sentimental, and try always to treat them as sentient individuals, each deserving of respect and dignity.

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