Are questions about pet loss, grief, etc on topic for this site, or are they better suited for Cognitive Sciences?

See: What are good techniques for coping with the loss of a dog?

  • 1
    I'm not sure on this yet, still thinking about it.... but I am confused why you were told to narrow the scope to a specific pet to keep it from being "too broad". How is the loss of a dog more of a narrow scope than the loss of any pet. – psubsee2003 Oct 16 '13 at 0:54
  • @psubsee2003 made a meta here for this: meta.pets.stackexchange.com/questions/341/… – Andrew Oct 16 '13 at 0:58
  • @psubsee2003 I won't grieve the way I'll grieve for a dog the same way I'll grieve for a chicken. But that's my opinion, If you disagree then you can vote to close the question – user34 Oct 16 '13 at 1:08
  • 1
    +1 good to bring this type of Q to the table, as I'm sure we will get more of them. cheers – user87 Oct 16 '13 at 5:44

Questions asking how to help owner's cope with any kind of emotional issue due to their pet is off topic, it's not about the pet, it's about the owner's welfare. It's not a grief and loss site, it's a site concerning the welfare of our pets.

How can we make putting one of our two dogs to sleep easier on the remaining dog?

This is a good example of what's on topic, helping a pet cope with the loss of another pet.


I can see that as being on-topic, but unless the question is a little bit more detailed and specific, I'd wait until after we've been in public beta before asking questions like this.

We should remember that the goal of the private beta is to maximize the chances of attracting experts to the site who will be able to answer the really tough questions. If there are too many basic "list things for me" type questions where the questions appear to be asked by what could be construed as amateurs, then it may not attract experts. Basically, all of us that are here for the private beta are tasked with designing an expert level Q&A site.

Most people who have cared for a pet should broadly know techniques for how to cope with the loss of a pet, so such a question tends to be more of a "getting to know you" type question. See Good Subjective, Bad Subjective for more details. Also, such questions don't require the same level of expertise as a real, actual problem.

With that said, I'm not saying the question is a bad question, and it actually got one really good answer. There's a lot of different directions we can take this question in terms of editing in order to get it reopened and reopen it as a stellar example of an expert level Pets Stack Exchange question. The best questions, the ones we should ask in the private beta, are about real, actual problems we're facing, and I support editing the question to add more details and depth, or rewording it so it has a real actual backstory (or a perceived, made-up backstory that paints a stronger picture of a real, actual pet loss):

I lost my dog this week due to an illness. He was very young and this was a surprise. The vet said he died due to X disease, which should have been preventable if I hadn't missed one of his vaccinations. I didn't mean to miss it, but I'm working 60 hours per week to save money for school and lost track of time. I don't have kids and have never really lost anyone close to me, and this was my first pet.

I feel sick to my stomach all the time, am wracked with guilt, and feel responsible. What techniques can I use to cope with the loss of my dog?

I know my version is very macabre and depressing, perhaps even evoking some strong emotions in people who feel there's no excuse for negligence, but I hope this helps inspire what's possible with this question to paint a more detailed, interesting picture that will attract people with deep experience in this subject. Hope this helps!

  • Your answer is a little too oblique to vote on, you are saying owner grief and loss are on topic (by agreeing with the Q) but then specifying a different on topic topic, I'd suggest by rewording, I don't think these should be ontopic, except regarding to issues surrounding; bla bla bla what do you think? – user87 Oct 16 '13 at 5:40
  • 1
    @Skippy - What I'm saying is it should be on topic, but it shouldn't be broad. There's two separate issues here. Basically, it would be best to see people like you, with tons of experience with animals, writing an answer about loss and grief to a very tough question where only someone who has really truly experienced it can answer, versus having a question where just anyone can drop by and write some vague coping technique as an answer that doesn't address a real case of loss where there are real emotions involved. I'm a bit wordy this evening, so I hope this helps clarify. – jmort253 Oct 16 '13 at 5:44
  • 1
    @Skippy - In short, I'd love to see that question reopened, but I think we can use the "on hold" feature for what it was really meant for -- a tool for editing and improving a post so that it becomes a shining, stellar example of expert Q&A. I was thinking of editing it myself, but I wanted to give the asker a crack at it first since my edits might be construed as a massive change to the post. Hope this helps! :) – jmort253 Oct 16 '13 at 5:48
  • You have talked me into it :) – user87 Oct 16 '13 at 16:49
  • @jmort253 it's my question, so don't be afraid to propose an edit. It's on hold anyways, and I don't plan to change it. – Andrew Oct 16 '13 at 21:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .