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Anyone who has ever had to go through the agony of losing a beloved dog will know it, and science has confirmed it: the devastation we feel when losing our furry best friend is akin to how we feel when we lose a human loved one.
Research in Evolution and Human Behaviour shows that the relationship we enjoy with our pets is even more satisfying than the human bonds we share.
The dog owners among us will already know the incomparable joys of being your dog's best friend: the sound of your pooch's excited feet as you open the door, the way they gaze at you as you have cuddles in front of the TV or the way they instantly know how to cheer you up when you've had a rubbish day.
That's why it can be so difficult to grieve a beloved dog properly: there's no compassionate leave or established funeral service to say goodbye and come to terms with the loss, while those who just don't get it will say unhelpful things like "it's just a dog" or "are you going to get another one?".
The research shows that in some cases, dog owners can be even happier in their pet relationships than their human relationships because "they supply a type of unconditional relationship that is usually absent from those with other human beings".
So, it's not surprising to see proof that when we lose a dog, it feels just as heartbreaking as losing a human loved one.
It's not just this study that proves our unbreakable bond with our pooches.
Yesterday, we wrote about a US study that proved that those who let their dogs snooze on their bed have better nights of sleep than those who sleep next to other humans or cats.
And let's not forget the British study that proved that, given the choice, most people would choose their dogs over their partners.
Words by: Deborah Cicurel
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