The Loss of Animal Companions: A Humanistic and Consumption Perspective

The Loss of Animal Companions: A Humanistic and Consumption Perspective 189 The Loss of Animal Companions: A Humanistic and Consumption Perspective Debra Lynn Stephens1 UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN Ronald Paul Hill THE UNIVERSITY OF PORTLAND This research project examines the dispossession of animal companions by loving owners. The results of two data collections reveal six highly interrelated themes: Love and Friendship, Joy in Life versus Sorrow in Death, Pets as Family Members, Vividness of Unexpected Death, Good- bye Rituals, and Return to Nature. The article closes with a brief discussion of the implications of these themes for service providers and for the education of potential pet owners. My dog does have his failings, of course. He's afraid of firecrackers and hides in the clothes closet whenever we run the vacuum cleaner, but unlike me he's not afraid of what other people think of him or anxious about his public image. He barks at the mail carrier and the newsboy, but in contrast to some people I know he never growls at the children or barks at his wife. (Kowalski, 1991, p. 2) Pet ownership in the U.S. is higher than ever; more than 60 percent of homes contain animal companions ranging from dogs and cats to birds, fish, and Society & Animals Brill

The Loss of Animal Companions: A Humanistic and Consumption Perspective

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© 1996 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
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