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Home » Pet Loss Grief; The Pain Explained: Sarah Hoggan DVM (Transcript)

Pet Loss Grief; The Pain Explained: Sarah Hoggan DVM (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Sarah Hoggan DVM’s talk titled “Pet Loss Grief; The Pain Explained” at TEDxTemecula conference.

Dr. Sarah Hoggan, an emergency veterinarian, delivered a poignant and insightful talk titled “Pet Loss Grief; The Pain Explained,” addressing the profound impact of pet loss on individuals. She begins by sharing that the most common compliment she receives is a paradoxical wish from pet owners not to see her again, highlighting the emotional intensity of emergency veterinary care.

Dr. Hoggan discusses the genuine and valid grief that accompanies the loss of a pet, emphasizing that pets are not just animals but significant, loving members of our families. She delves into the psychological aspects of grief, noting that it is a recognized medical condition with symptoms that mirror the deep loss felt by pet owners.

Furthermore, Dr. Hoggan explores societal attitudes towards pet loss, criticizing the minimization of this grief and advocating for a greater understanding and acceptance of its severity. She identifies specific factors that exacerbate the pain of pet loss, including the unique, unconditional bond between pets and their owners. Dr. Hoggan’s talk is a compassionate call to acknowledge and support those grieving the loss of their pets, affirming the deep emotional connections we share with our animal companions.

Listen to the audio version here:


Understanding Pet Loss

“Thank you, Dr. Hoggan. You have been wonderful. But I never want to see you again,” is oddly the most common compliment that I receive. I am an emergency veterinarian. That means I see terrible things: seizures in animals, pets that have been in house fires, and lots and lots of trauma.

When I have to tell people the hard truths about their pet’s condition and the poor prognosis that accompanies it, they become visibly different. Their face contorts, their previously steady voice cracks, and their eyes well. Despite their stoicism, a tear escapes to roll down their cheek.

Invariably, when someone breaks down in front of me, they apologize. “You don’t have to apologize to me. This is what I have dedicated my life to. I more than understand the feelings inside that lead to this outside.” The pain of pet loss is real because the emotions you shared with your pet were real. The grief associated with pet loss is valid because you didn’t lose a thing; you lost a someone, someone close and someone special to you.

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