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The North Wind

The North Wind

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Rachel Pott
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I am a marketing major about to start my second year at Northern Michigan University, however, this will be my third year in college. I previously attended a small community college...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily Gouin April 19, 2024

Opinion — It’s okay to ‘replace’ a pet

Sometimes it’s important to keep yourself and your animals company.
QUALITY+TIME+%E2%80%94+Simon+and+Chili+go+squirrel+watching+together+at+their+spots+on+the+windowsill.
Amelia Kashian/NW
QUALITY TIME — Simon and Chili go squirrel watching together at their spots on the windowsill.

The grief of losing a pet is a kind of pain that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It’s hard to comprehend the fact that our animals live for only a small fraction of our lives, and that soon our houses will feel emptier than ever. People cope with their losses in different ways. Many keep themselves busy and surround themselves with loved ones, while others need time to wallow on their own.

Regardless of the ways that owners mourn their pets, one thing will always be for certain — nothing can come close to replacing them. Animals have unique personalities and special quirks that could never be replicated.

 Sometimes, however, having an animal in the house is necessary even after a loss, and families seek to adopt a new pet quicker than many are comfortable with. It’s difficult, and I can attest to this — my family has adopted three new pets within months of another’s death.

I’ve felt guilty for this and insisted on waiting, but rescuing another animal has made my family’s grieving process much easier. A new pet brings love into a household and provides company for our other animals that are probably just as lonely as us. 

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From what I’ve heard, many owners decide that once they lose their beloved animal, they will never adopt another. They believe that it’s distasteful and would likely resent a new animal amidst their grief. While this can be the case, another pet can be a person’s saving grace while dealing with tragedy.

Instead of coming home and dealing with painful silence after my childhood dog Grizzly Bear died, I looked forward to coming home and seeing a puppy sprint towards the door. Although we missed Grizzly’s mellow character, a new dog filled the void and brought us excitement during rough times. 

Believe it or not, our pets also grieve the death of an animal. They become anxious and lonely, and their quality of life can significantly diminish if they remain in this state. While it’s necessary to give both the owner and their pet some time to adapt and heal from a loss, eventually a new pet can create a happier environment for everyone.

I have experience with this as well — my cat Mio died unexpectedly, and my other cat Chili was left without company. She became more irritable and less affectionate. When our family adopted Simon, she became playful again and had a friend to spend time with while we were gone. 

Families heal after pet loss in different ways, and it’s extremely important to acknowledge that. It’s okay to mourn without looking to adopt, as it is to introduce a new pet to the household. People typically need some time to heal before they do, which could take weeks, months or years.

In reality, it doesn’t matter — if a family and their animals will feel comforted and loved with a new pet, they should adopt one without feeling guilty. Owning and caring for a pet is one of the best parts of being human, so I can’t blame anyone for wanting to own one almost constantly.

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About the Contributor
Amelia Kashian
Amelia Kashian, Features Editor
Being passionate is one of the best parts of being human, and I am glad that writing has helped me recognize that. I have been writing stories since I was a little girl, and over time I have grown to become more and more fond of journalism. Now, I am excited to grow as a writer and build connections as a staff member of the North Wind. In my free time I enjoy running, finding new music, and exploring nature.