Globally there is increased presence of pets in the households. This non-human relationship, with its dimensions of physical and emotional bonds, can get severely jolted on the death of the companion animal. It sets a feeling, 'our life is now left with a void and the house feels utterly empty'. Unlike the loss of a child, spouse or parent which become a shared tragedy; others may not understand the depth of sadness and a sense of void in a grieving pet owner. Emotional pain and physical distress due to the loss of a companion animal are likely to be pronounced. A big challenge for the medical community is to anticipate, identify and address physical and psychosocial symptom burdens in a timely manner.
Keywords: Grief; medical attention; non-human relationship; pet loss; symptom burden.