Your dad is recalling the worst kind of loss... the loss of
innocence, really. As a child, the loss of a pet means a
great deal more than just a dead animal. It's the realization
that all living things, even loved ones, have a beginning and
an end. The realization of finality. It's usually the first
death children experience, and for some, it's wounds are
How does your father manage the deaths of human loved
ones? Is he accepting of this?
Some people think that avoiding relationships protects
them from the eventual pain of loss or betrayal. Your father
may think he's protecting himself from pain, but what he's
actually doing is denying himself the wonderful joys and
pleasures that pet ownership can bring.
It's never easy to let go, but if you are at peace with the
knowledge that there is a cycle to life, then the end is
not so nearly tragic if the process of getting there has been
a joyous and rewarding journey.
I personally, cannot understand why people dwell so much
on the sadness and pain of loss and death. This isn't to say
that I don't myself mourn and long for my lost loved ones.
But the ache in my heart is melancholy wrapped in sweet
and happy memories. I wouldn't go back and trade the dearest
days in my life to ease any pain... to do so would turn my
world grey, cold, and ordinary.
What's that line of Julia Roberts' in Steel Magnolias? Something
like "I'd rather have a week of wonderful than a lifetime of
nothin' special." Some people live life like that. Some choose
not to. You won't likely change you father's opinion on the subject,
but try to make him understand where you're coming from.
And failing all else, just do what I did. I waited until I got my
own place to have animals. The wait was long, but let me tell
you, it was worth it!!