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Grieving Animals

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Many of us have witnessed our pets grieving the loss of a special person or critter friend.  Although they may not have the intellectual capacity to understand death, they can acutely feel its effects on them and on their surroundings.


Biological anthropologist Barbara J. King, whose field of study is animal cognition and emotion, argues that animals absolutely experience and express grief.  Here’s her TEDtalk exploring that topic, from elephants to orcas:


Questions for journaling, walking, and chatting:

  1. Have you ever witnessed a grieving animal?  What did it do?

  2. Is there anything you can learn from our animal friends in regard to grief?

  3. Are there ways that human cognition helps our grieving process?  

  4. Are there ways that human cognition hinders our grieving process?

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