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Paula Gerstenblatt, a University of Southern Maine (USM) assistant professor of Social Work, has published a piece in the Portland Press Herald's "Maine Voices" section on the bond between humans and pets, in response to the paper's May 16 editorial, "Pets may seem like family, but they’re property – which is how courts should rule."
In her piece, Gerstenblatt writes that research on the human-animal bond indicates pets are considered family, and the connection equals or exceeds that experienced between humans.
"Research shows the loss of a pet can be as or more difficult than the loss of a human," Gerstenblatt says. "The decision to euthanize a pet results in feelings of guilt and a deep sense of loss once the pet is gone. The loss of a pet can be misunderstood, minimized and ridiculed."
She also discusses the fatigue faced by veterinarians, explaining they die by suicide at twice the rate of other health care providers, and highlights her teachings on veterinary social work at USM. Read the full piece in the Portland Press Herald.