Monday, 09 Apr 2018
Why do we get so psychologically attached to our pets - Is cloning your dog or cat going to far?
By Private Therapy Clinic
Veteran performer Barbra Streisand has been in the news lately for cloning her pet dog—not just once but twice!
So, why clone a pet?
The motivation isn’t very hard to understand. Our pets become part of the fabric of our lives, and we love them dearly. They typically love us back, unconditionally. We care for them, and share many of our most precious moments with them—but because most animals’ lifespans are naturally much shorter than humans’, we typically outlive our pets. This means enduring bereavement when they pass away—again and again.
Cloning is expensive, but Streisand has plenty of money, and she spent some of it on having her beloved pet dog cloned not once, but twice. However, she expressed disappointment when she found that the new “copies” were not exactly the same as the original dog.
The fact is, everything a living being experiences—including the experiences they have while developing in the womb—has an impact on their character, their health, and their behaviour. That means that even if two creatures are genetically identical, they are also subject to an uncountable number of factors that can influence their development in an equally uncountable number of ways. Studies in the exciting and emerging field of epigenetics show us that, depending on what happens in a creature’s life, different genes can even be “switched on” or “switched off”, with major implications for future behaviour and health.
Experiencing feelings of grief and loss is a normal, healthy part of being a human. It’s perfectly normal and appropriate to feel these negative emotions even when the deceased is a much-loved pet, rather than a member of our family or a close (human) friend. Loving and grieving are both fundamental qualities of humanity. They make us what we are. Nobody likes to grieve, but we are resilient, and we can process the painful, distressing emotions associated with bereavement if we allow ourselves to go through the natural stages of grief, emerging with cherished memories of our loved one that will stay with us forever.
Cloning a pet can be seen as an attempt to circumvent or avoid the natural process of grief, but the reality is that it just won’t work. The “replica” pet will never be exactly the same as the deceased pet, for the reasons outlined above, while the process of grieving is a natural one that we all have to pass through, come what may. It just can’t be avoided completely.
Having pets cloned is currently beyond the financial reach of most of us, but even if it becomes more affordable, it’s a better idea to cherish your memories—and if you want a new pet, visit your local animal shelter, instead.
Who can I speak to about concerns of cloning a pet?
To speak to someone about concerns of cloning a pet, speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.