Today is National Pet Day – a day where pet owners around the world celebrate the joy and unconditional love they have for their animal companions.
Pets give people so much in terms of love and emotional support. Studies show that simply stroking an animal can lead to lower blood pressure levels. This affectionate behaviour works both ways, as touching our pets offers therapeutic effects for the animal too – particularly when they’re feeling under the weather.
Their love for us is unmatched. Our animal friends remain right beside us throughout their lives, and today is the day where we can give something back to our devoted companions!
Animals grieve too
Back in 2011, a heart-wrenching photograph of a brown Labrador retriever named Hawkeye lying beside the casket of his beloved owner, Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, went viral on the internet within minutes, becoming perhaps the most famous instance of a pet grieving.
Pet lovers were moved by the dog who refused to leave his best friend’s side. This image of a heart-broken canine suggested there may be more to our pets’ ability to empathise with humans than previously thought.
Up until the eighties, the idea that animals may have feelings like humans was considered absurd. While it was widely accepted that animals experienced basic feelings like pain, fear and anger, any suggestions that dogs and cats could understand or display love and grief were quickly dismissed.
But in 2012, some of the world’s leading scientists published the “Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in Non-Human Animals”, which demonstrated that animals experience moment-to-moment consciousness, just like humans.
The key differences between human and animal brains, mainly found in the frontal cortex, allow humans to think, plan and reflect. But other than these aspects, animal consciousness is now thought to be surprisingly similar to our own. This means animals can care for each other in a way that resembles “love”, and can often display signs of grief after a death.
Like humans, animals may also react to a death in a variety of different ways. While some animals can seem depressed and withdrawn, others continue as if nothing has happened. Some even become more animated and active, as if relieved the deceased has moved on.
After you’ve gone
Between five and seven million grief-ridden pets enter animal shelters due to the death of their owners every single year. Pet owners can avoid this by simply devising a will and including the care of their companions in their final wishes. By writing a will, you can appoint someone who can give your pet the care they need.
Damsons can ensure that all your loved ones – even the furry ones – are in good hands after you’re gone. Call Damsons Future Planning on 0800 088 4670 to start arranging your will today!