Times have certainly changed for pet owners. A higher proportion of Australians live in households with a dog and/or cat than with a child. This might explain why Australians are spending more than $12.2 billion annually on pet products and services, with expenditure on dogs leading the way. This humanisation of pets means that when pet owners experience the loss of their animal companion, their sense of grief can be very real and very painful. What adds to this difficulty is our society’s general lack of understanding about death and loss, even more so when it’s the death of a pet. So we can be denied the opportunity to grieve.
In When Pets Die, Doris Zagdanski turns her attention to pet loss. The often unrecognised hurt of losing a pet is given a name — disenfranchised grief. This grief is explained in a common sense, practical and sensitive way. Just what you need when your pet companion has died and it seems no-one understands. Whether she is speaking to you face to face, addressing a large audience or using the written word, Doris understands grief and gets her message across.