The death of a pet can be devastating --yet when you lose an animal companion--you’re sometimes expected to “just get over it.” This hour, we talk about human attachment to pets. Have you experienced the death of a beloved animal? How comfortable were you talking about your grief with others?
We also explore the impacts on the mental health of veterinarians as they help patients and pet owners during end of life care. Decisions like euthanasia are difficult but what happens when a vet and an owner disagree about what is best for an animal?
- Dr. Leslie Irvine - Professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder who studies the role of animals in society. She is the author of If You Tame Me: Understanding Our Connections with Animals
- Dr. Jenna Giangarra - Surgeon and veterinarian at Veterinary Specialists of Connecticut in West Hartford
- Dr. Lisa Moses - Palliative care veterinarian at the MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, and an animal ethicist at Harvard Center for Bioethics and Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics
Popular Science: A pet’s death can hurt more than losing a fellow human (May 2018) – “Pets share some of our most intimate relationships—we see them every day, they depend on us, we adjust our lives around their needs—and yet publically grieving their loss is not socially acceptable.”
NPR: Survey Finds Widespread 'Moral Distress' Among Veterinarians (October 2018) - "'We are in the really unenviable, and really difficult, position of caring for patients maybe for their entire lives, developing our own relationships with those animals — and then being asked to kill them,' says Dr. Lisa Moses…She's the lead author of a study published Monday in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine about 'moral distress' among veterinarians. The survey of more than 800 vets found that most feel ethical qualms — at least sometimes — about what pet owners ask them to do. And that takes a toll on their mental health."
Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired on December 4, 2018.