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Pets and Other Ways to "Devour Loneliness"

Grief, loss, loneliness may rise up unexpectedly--I know. What then might we do to ease those feelings? One way is with a pet; there are other ways. We each discover what works best for us.

"It may be a cat, a bird, a ferret, or a guinea pig, but the chances are high that when someone close to you dies, a pet will be there to pick up the slack. Pets devour the loneliness. They give us purpose, responsibility, a reason for getting up in the morning, and a reason to look to the future. They ground us, help us escape the grief, make us laugh, and take full advantage of our weakness by exploiting our furniture, our beds, and our refrigerator. We wouldn't have it any other way. Pets are our seat belts on the emotional roller coaster of life--they can be trusted, they keep us safe, and they sure do smooth out the ride."

- Nick Trout, Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon

Science has proven that petting a soft animal is a great stress reliever. Of course, grief is one of the greatest sources of stress there is, especially because you can feel so helpless. If you don't have a pet, volunteer to walk a neighbor's dog or spend some time at a local animal shelter. It may be a case of "feeling" is believing, but you will be amazed with how calming petting a dog or cat can be.

I no longer have a pet. I find other ways, often writing or singing at nursing homes. I have a regular spiritual practice and have walked labyrinths.

What do you do to ease your grief or loneliness when it rises up? I'd like to share your journey. Please reply and let me know.

May you be healed, find the sun, and be at peace,


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Patti Emminger
Patti Emminger
Oct 24, 2022

My two dogs have been such a comfort in this time of grieving the loss of my husband of 49 years and 9 months. Little Spice "hugs" me with her front paws and kisses my tears away. And Sassy, my husband's border collie mix comes to me for comfort as she finally seems to realize he isn't coming home. We all three cry together and the warmth of their love and trust just melts my heart and fills me with peace and comfort and indescribable love!

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