Dogs' Lessons on Love and Grief

In an essay for The Wall Street Journal, Katherine Bindley said dog ownership can teach a person about herself and her pet.

Dog ownership demands love and determination from the start. According to hundreds of Journal readers who responded on Bindley's column, a dog's last lesson may be its most important.

The loss of a pet and the grieving that follows are important resilience lessons.Richard Nelson of Wascott, Wis., knows the pain of losing a pet.

“My most devastating experiences in life have been saying farewell to my best friends,” referring to his family's three English Springer spaniels.

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Dog loss is a unique form of grief, says certified psychologist Nancy Curotto.

Pet relationships are “one of the most intense bonds one can have,” Curotto said. “This relationship is unconditional. Your pet sees you like no other relationship.”

Most owners adopt with the idea that they will outlive their beloved, but these deep relationships make it exceptionally hard to accept loss.

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