Title

“Getting rid of the dog”: Adult recall of a childhood experience

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Society & Animals

Publisher

Brill

School

School of Arts and Humanities

RAS ID

28388

Comments

Originally published as: Edwards, M. E., Gringart, E., & Drake, D. (2018). “Getting rid of the dog”: Adult recall of a childhood experience. Society & Animals, 27(3), 271–287. Original publication available here

Abstract

Dog relinquishment is common practice across Australia and in many other countries. The psychological impact of dog relinquishment is an under-researched area. While a few studies have shown that the dog relinquishment experience can be emotionally distressing and cognitively challenging for adults, nothing is known about the impact of the experience on children. This paper reports on the recollections of 10 adults, who in qualitative interviews in Western Australia, described their childhood experience of dog relinquishment. The findings suggest that children experiencing dog relinquishment feel powerless and voiceless, having no influence or say in what happens to their dogs. The experience can be cognitively and emotionally distressing, especially for children who are close to their dogs. Getting rid of a child’s loved dog can damage the parent-child relationship. In addition, the thoughts and feelings associated with losing their dogs in this way can remain long after the event.

DOI

10.1163/15685306-12341545

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