Do You Ever Wonder if You Love Animals “Too Much”?
7 Warning Signs
- Do you spend more money on your pets than on yourself?
- Do you spend more time with your pets than you do with human friends?
- Do you enjoy your animals more than you do most people?
- Have you bought a new home or remodeled because it would be better for your animals?
- Are you having trouble recovering from the loss of a pet who died some time ago?
- Do people ask you: “Why don’t you have children instead of wasting your love on an animal? It’s only an ANIMAL!”
- Is is sometimes hard to find people who relate to animals the way you do?
If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, you are not alone.
There are correlations between the way people treat animals and the way they treat other people. So the “only an animal” rationalization is just that—a rationalization.
Is it really possible to “love animals too much?” I believe the answer is NO! Love for animals is in most respects an unconditional, “unselfish” love, since we are loving someone who can’t give us money, prestige, power, or make our lives easier. They are our best friends, sympathetic listeners, and loyal companions.
Pets are part of the family. Our relationships with our pets can be some of our closest and most rewarding. And if you are a real animal lover, you have a special gift–your great capacity to love.
Our pets give us so much. They entertain us, listen to our secrets, and give us unconditional love. Losing a special pet can leave us with a muddle of feelings: sadness, anxiety, and even guilt. It may be hard to get support from others during this time. Well-meaning people may try to cheer us up, “At least it wasn’t your husband/father/mother/child!” But it’s not whether our loved one was a person or an animal that determines our “right” to be upset. It’s the quality of the relationship. You’re not crazy to be in pain during this time.
Facing these feelings alone can seem overwhelming. But healing comes with talking, getting support, and facing the feelings, one moment at a time. If you feel helpless, hopeless, have severe difficulty functioning, or have suicidal thoughts, get help immediately. If you feel “stuck” in grief after two to three months, you may have a more complicated grief experience and may benefit from grief counseling to get through this difficult time.