Loosing a pet is devastating and most people, myself included, view their pets as a part of their family. And while they may never speak to us in plain language, they certainly teach us more than could ever be conveyed in words.
Pets, or, as I prefer to call them, companion animals, are an important part of many peoples lives and families. And losing a companion animal can be just as, and sometimes even more, devastating than losing a human companion or family member.
I remember when I was five years old seeing my father cry for the first time in my life when our dog Isaac passed away. I’d never seen a man cry. Why is it that this loss affects us so profoundly?
I’d venture to say that, in part, it’s their innocence. And their willingness to love unconditionally. I’ve known so many animals who, after facing unspeakable cruelty from humans, still reach out for compassion with completely unearned trust. They still hope the next person will love them.
Our companions teach us such important lessons during their lives and with their passing. I lost my own very dear companion of eight and a half years, Ooby, who changed my life forever. You can hear all about her story in this video post. Ooby taught me many things. Like to make the best of life regardless of the awful hand you were dealt. To not take myself, or anything, too seriously. To be in the moment, not matter what else is going on in life.
I’m sure every person with an animal companion, beloved pet, or whatever term you use, can list off all kind of priceless insights you’ve learned.
There’s one lesson that the loss of our companions teaches us that I find most vital. [tweet this] And that is the value of non-human life. [tweet this] As a vegan, I personally find profound and equal value in all non-human animals. But I also know that non-vegans grieve the loss of their animal companions deeply. I would never question someone’s right to mourn.
If you’re non-vegan and you’ve ever lost and grieved for an animal in your life, I’d simply ask that you consider how the obvious value of their life may show the value of other animals as well. [tweet this]
Please stick with me through this. I know this brings up all manner of defenses, but please hear me out. This is not an attempt to belittle your loss. In fact, just the opposite. It’s an attempt to validate the countless other losses of animal life just as devastating, but without a loved one to grieve for them.
Just like our dogs, cats, birds, bunnies, and other pets, cows, pigs, chickens, and rabbits have feelings, families, and lessons to leave all their own. It’s been proven that animals are capable of grief. You can see this video on that topic as well as more linked below.
Pigs have mannerisms incredibly similar to dogs and are actually more intelligent, though I don’t believe ranking species by intelligence has much value. Many people have potbellied and micro pigs as pets, yet they will consume the bodies of their brothers and sisters, simply because those pigs have been labeled as food animals.
In some countries, dogs are eaten, leaving those of us with dog companions completely horrified. But we eat cows, who are revered in other cultures. Our actions would horrify them just as much. The divide we create between species is entirely arbitrary and based on nothing more than culture and societal norms. [tweet this]
Mother cows cry out for their babies, who are taken away after birth in the dairy industry. A former cattle rancher shared how the mother cows on her farm cried for days and only stopped when they lost their voices.
Now this may bring up all kind of objections within you, like how could I compare your grief with that of a cow. How could I compare your loved one to a pig earmarked for bacon, or a chicken destined for KFC. But I’d challenge you to answer what it is, other than arbitrary human decisions, that makes one animal worthy of love and safety and another worthy of torture, abuse, and a painful death?
Despite the PR and the humane, free-range labels, our food animals are not well cared for and they are not protected. Their lives are brutal without exception. If you don’t believe me, please see this video and more videos linked below.
This disconnect and division of animals is all too common. And it’s uncomfortable to confront. It’s so ingrained in our society that if an animal has a name and identity we personally know, then their lives have worth.
If you’re non-vegan, I encourage you to be brave enough to sit with this cultural cognitive dissonance and ask yourself, what is the difference?
I realize this is no small feat. Trust me. This is an emotional subject and challenging ingrained beliefs is one of the hardest things to do.
Think of your companion and your love for them and the loss you felt. And ask why that love, or at least that right to a life free of human-inflicted abuse and premature death, isn’t due to any other animal.
Thank you for watching if you’ve stayed with me. And my heart goes out to you for your loss. Don’t think for a moment that I believe you can’t feel that loss because you’re non-vegan. You have just as much of a right to mourn your companion animal. I’m only asking for you to open your mind and heart that much more.
If you found this message helpful, please hit the like button and share this around to help others make the deeper connection. If you’re new here, I’d love to have you as a subscriber. I put out fresh content covering all aspects of veganism every Monday, Wednesday and some Fridays. If you’d like to help support Bite Size Vegan’s educational efforts, please see the support page or join us on Patreon.
Now go live vegan, open your heart, and I’ll see you soon.
RESOURCES & FEATURED VIDEOS:
Recommended Videos For Non-Vegans (find in “playlists grouped by topic” section)
OPEN YOUR EYES [what animals actually go through] Can You Love Animals AND Eat Them?
Do Animals Grieve?
The Free-Range, Cruelty-Free Lie
“Speciesism” (putting one animal above another)
Why the Yulin Dog Festival Isn’t A Big Deal
Defending Cecil the Lion’s Killer
Kidnapped At Birth [mother & baby cow story]
Former Cattle Rancher’s Story
My Dog Ooby’s Story
All About Veganism & Pets
Breeding Pets to Death
Feeding Pets to Death
How Many Animals We Kill (the enormity of the loss)
Do Fish Feel Pain?