A Dog’s and a Cat’s Take on “Disenfranchised Grief”

Even though I was being made fun of, I was flattered that animal news writer Melissa Stoneburner mentioned my last week’s post about a pet ceremony in examiner.com, a blog that boasts  of having “20 million monthly readers.” With readership like that, I’d be hard-put to complain about my blog name getting in print, short of defamation of character. She characterized the ceremony, which some 40 dogs and one cat attended, with the headline, http://www.examiner.com/article/first-nyc-non-denominational-pet-blessing. She paraphrased me as saying, “if a person grieves the loss of their pet, the big term that other humans have given this is ‘disenfranchised grief.’ What? And what?”

Alright there, Melissa. You just brace yourself. My thirty-three faithful readers and I are all lined up ready to do battle. (At least I’m pretty sure that they are.)  Apparently you thought I was being pedantic. Harrumph! As champion of the disenfranchised, be they voters, restaurant chains or grievers, I hereby will now defend the use of the expression, “disenfranchised grief.” All you had to do is talk with any of the dozens of animals there. Buster for example would have told you, “You betcha that people grieving over pets is dismissed. Haven’t you heard people snicker over the idea of a pet cemetery? And when I mention there are pet hospices, most people think I’m all-out  kidding. And my biggest PET peeve, practically before our precious bodies have gone cold, is when they tell owners, ‘Oh, don’t be sad. You can get another dog.’ What are we, stuffed animals?” Molly then might have added, “OW! Meow! How would you like it if someone in your family died and your clothed-friends said, ‘Oh well, you can get another. With 7 billion humans, a replacement shouldn’t be a problem.’ Just put yourself in my paws and you’ll see why I’m so CATegorically insulted.”

Just you wait, examiner.com.”Disenfranchised grief” is merely offbeatcompassion’s  initial assault.  I and my minions will now overwhelm you with my impenetrable arsenal of other terms: “complicated grief,” “Conflicted mourning,” “high-risk factors” and “inhibited grief.” So there! And there! And there!

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7 thoughts on “A Dog’s and a Cat’s Take on “Disenfranchised Grief”

  1. len says:

    off topic maybe .. but someone said ” the more I understand humans the more I love my dog.”Pets are cool and for some they are the mainstay of their lives .. after all we are all on this planet together..

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    • this reminds me of the wisdom in the Talmud. It has laws of kindness for animals, such as feeding them first before their owners, with the hope that if someone cares for an animal, then all the more so shall they care properly for a human being.

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  2. Yes, this member of your army is all geared up for battle! As I said after the original post: people seem more aware and accepting of love for animals than they used to be but there are still those around who are less than sympathetic. Even last week, I saw somebody smirk when a friend said her pet dog was not well.
    I hope Melissa Stoneburner will not find me pretentious if I quote Anatole France: “Those who have not known the love of an animal, have a part of their soul unawakened.”
    So there, indeed!

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    • Then if I ever get a pet, I’ll have something new to look forward to, spiritually speaking. As for Melissa, her article shows she is a great friend of animals, and so I was just having a little fun teasing her back. -Karen

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  3. curriershouse5@comcast.net says:

    Go Karen ! Love it!!! Nancy and Rufus (puppy) and Max (from Doggie heaven).

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    • Dear Rufus and Max: Buster and Molly will always be at the ready to be your mentors. Dear Nancy: Keep your eye out for all those disenfranchised grievers out there and let them know their rights. -Karen

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