Death in Culture and Tradition
In many of our human cultures, we have funeral and burial rituals to properly mourn those who have passed away. From jazz funerals in New Orleans, burial bead funerals in South Korea, ship burials in Scandinavia, mummification rituals in Egypt, hanging coffin funerals in China, sky burials in Mongolia and Tibet, stripper funerals in Taiwan, and even to expensive space burials from the United States to the Moon, funeral practices are a core aspect in many of our human cultures.
However, all of these traditions are for humans and are typically not practiced with other species. There is one species that shares a bond with humans like no other and should deserve a place, but often gets left out of these funeral practices designed only for humans. Can you take a guess at what species this is? Dogs!
He or She is Never “Just a Dog”
Have you ever went through the death of your beloved canine companion and found it harder to cope with it than the loss of anyone else you know, but your non-dog owner friends can’t understand what the deal is because they think it’s “just a dog”?
Many of our human cultures don’t include any grief rituals, religious services, or any kind of funerals for pets and as a result, there is little to help dog owners get through the loss of their companions. There are many humans who believe only in bonds between humans and humans cannot see a bond between humans and dogs.
Consequently, this form of grief is not widely accepted in many cultures all over the world. Dog owners feel somewhat obliged to hide this form of grief from the public to avoid non-dog owners passing judgment on them, which makes it even more difficult to cope with this grief.
The Relationship Between Humans and Dogs
Humans and dogs share a relationship that goes 10,000 to 20,000 years back. Dogs are the only animal that have specifically evolved as the mates of humans and we share a history that goes quite a long way back. No other animal or species shares this same alliance as dogs do.
Dog owners incorporate their dogs into every aspect of their lives, from their daily routines to even accommodating them in all of their vacation plans. The lives of dog owners typically revolve around their dogs. Many dog owners grow up, travel the globe, and explore everything together with their dogs and cannot imagine living without their dogs until they are forced to after their dogs pass away.
Dog owners see a connection with their dogs unlike any other connection they have with other human beings, even their friends and relatives. Dog owners and dogs give each other their all and are there for each other in many ways more than in their relationships with other humans.
For many dog owners, losing their pets makes the world less bright and cannot function the same way without them. Many add new canine members to their families and start new relationships to cope with these deaths.