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Dealing with Insensitive PPL

Posted on: May 15, 2006

Dealing with Insensitive People

Alas, not every human being loves dogs or appreciates why living with a dog is such a special experience. Some people may have difficulty understanding why you’re so upset over the impending death of your senior pal. You may hear insensitive comments from these folks and wonder how to deal with them without going ballistic.

Here are some steps you can take when someone makes one of the following thoughtless or cruel comments about how you’re dealing with the death of your senior:

  • It’s just a dog.” The word ‘just’, as used here, is so inappropriate. Your dog is a member of your family. By trying to give her good care up to the very end and by grieving over her impending death, you’re treating her with the love and respect that you’d give any family member. When other people say that you should feel otherwise or that a dog’s death is no big deal, they deserve your sympathy.
  • You can always get another dog.” A variation of this supremely insensitive comment is “When are you going to get another dog?” No individual, canine or otherwise, can truly be replaced. Someday you may have another dog — or you may not. The choice is yours. Meanwhile, though, you focus on honoring your current senior dog — exactly as you should be. If the person who makes the comment is persistent, you can always say, “I’m really not ready to deal with that right now.”
  • “Aren’t people more important than dogs?” This comment is especially galling, not to mention a total non sequitur. Feeling sad over the death of a beloved dog doesn’t mean that you don’t feel (or haven’t felt) just as sad over the death of a beloved person. The love, not the species, is what’s important here. You can respond to this comment by saying, “Fido was a member of my family, and I feel sad when anyone in my family dies.”
  • He lived a long life, so you really shouldn’t be upset.” So what?
    Maybe your dog lived a long time — but people who have the privilege of loving dogs know that no matter how long their canine companions live, they never live long enough. When confronted with this comment, your best course of action is to say, “I tried to give him a good life, and he was a great dog.”
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