Symbols and Rituals in Human-Animal Attachment and Grief

Symbols and Rituals in Human-Animal Attachment and Grief (PDF)

2022 • 36 Pages • 1.3 MB • English
Posted July 01, 2022 • Submitted by Superman

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Summary of Symbols and Rituals in Human-Animal Attachment and Grief

Disenfranchised Grief The Role of Symbols and Rituals for Bereaved Animal Caretakers Dr Lisel O’Dwyer [email protected] Ph 08 8201 2985, mob. 0412 199 385 To the world it mattered not that you existed And life goes on as if you'd never been While I alone, shed bitter tears of mourning In grievous loss of you, my precious friend. Iris Lee Pierno Disenfranchised Grief • Grief that is not acknowledged by society. • A person experiences a sense of loss but does not have a socially recognized right, role, or capacity to grieve “…the narrow definition of who deserves sympathy and understanding is responsible for inflicting pain on the bereaved that is often greater than the loss itself” Chur-Hansen, 2010:17 Pets as Family • Attachment theory • Attachment provides protection from risks associated with chronic stress • The severity and length of grief is correlated with the degree of attachment to the deceased pet (e.g. Wrobel and Dye 2003) • Consistent across most Western countries – Several studies from Japan Pets as family (cont.) • Since pets were family members during life, many people feel they should be treated like human family members in death • The fact that they are not contributes to social perceptions of the division between human/animal • Two main options for doing this: – Pet cemeteries – Memorialisation in the home Pet cemeteries • Not a new idea Pet cemetery support industries • “Paw Pods” for goldfish up to large dog breeds • Biodegradable and contain perennial flower seeds • Made from bamboo, rice husk, and recycled materials. Memorials Memorials (cont.) • Free online memorials available – People post a picture of their pet and a story about them and can share the link – Visitors to the sites can post comments of sympathy – On-line support group for dealing with grief from loss of pet • Also availability of tailored pet loss sympathy cards online – Generally not available in usual outlets • Hallmark now has pet sympathy range in the US Other forms of recognition • The Rainbow Bridge – A vignette often emailed between friends – A happy ever after story – Often read to children • Children’s books The ritual of the funeral • Funerals are the traditional ritual to mark the end of a life – Common to all cultures and have been practised for thousands of years • This breadth and history emphasises that they meet an important social need • They are typically public events • Usually follow a traditional, cultural specific procedure – The predictable pattern helps participants feel at ease – A true ritual is unrepeatable • The symbolism of the funeral ritual provides a means to express grief when language alone is not enough – Can have significant benefits for participants The ritual of the funeral (cont.) • Societal and religious rituals help participants cross thresholds from one status to another (Van Gennep 1909, 1960). • Usually evoke a special mood • Standard order of proceedings which reduces anxiety and helps create a feeling of security. • Can also be non physical, such as music and poetry

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