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Sat Feb 2, 2013, 08:56 PM

When Dogs Lose Their Friends

We moved "Grandma" in with us about 8 years ago. (A year or so after we moved out-of-state she became unable to drive without running into things). So it's been the three of us. She was 91, contracted the flu this week. Sick, but alert, walking, she had an apparent heart attack on the way to the dr's office yesterday. The ER was actually closer. They went to work quickly, but despite their efforts she died. My wife lost a buddy in her as well, and it rips deep into me to see her so sad, but we will work through that.

But I want to post about something else.
.
She was adopted by one of our chihuahua/pomeranian rescues, abt 8 lbs, (we have two) and he rarely left her side or lap. We have 3 much bigger dogs (one a 130 lb Anatolian, who Adam thinks hung the moon), but Adam was Grandma’s dog, and she his human. He reminded everyone of that when necessary, did his 7” tall best to take care of her, and Grandma would run his thieving sister off when she tried to steal his food . When Grandma would leave (church, dr, etc), his world was visibly different. He would lie on her bed till until she returned.

Oh, the sheer joy upon the occasion of her return! The first and only thing he wanted, Hurdle up onto the table to see them drive in, yipping and jumping from sheer joy 'till she got in the door, which was deserving of more jumping up and down and barking, then onto her lap where he could greet her properly. They both just laughed... Treats appeared once in a while, but I suspect it was more than the food, which came not to matter after awhile.

We came home without her yesterday. Adam couldn't understand. We never come home without Grandma. He would take a little food, but then it was back to the door, jumping, waiting, and barking. I had to make arrangements with the crematorium, so I asked if it would be alright if I brought him. The woman said she would need to speak to the director, and we set up an appointment. We showed up, I left Adam in the car with my wife, still anxious, wiggly, yipping a little now and then. Maybe I was lucky, but we were met by the director, he let us in his office alone. He brought Grandma into a chapel in a paper box. I took Adam in and held him near her head and shoulders, and as he smelled, (I placed him near her face), he visibly relaxed, and his head lowered. He quit wiggling. I held him there a bit more, let him kinds of stand near her, spoke a bit, and said goodbye.

We left, and when we came home there was no more jumping and barking. He went in, walked around the room a bit, and jumped on her bed to lie down. That night he slept with us, and the big dogs had to learn to make a space again. Today he has gone in and out of Grandma's room, but no longer looks for her, and is sleeping with my wife.

I don't want to attribute human traits to a dog, and I think the world dogs see is created mostly by their noses. It doesn't look like the one we see, or at least not the way we think of it. But I think there is some kind of attachment there, and perhaps we gave him a little chance to understand his loss and deal with it.

If the occasion arises, perhaps you could see if there is a friend left behind that needs your help. I don’t know what that need might be, but I bet it will be appreciated.

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Arrow 32 replies Author Time Post
Reply When Dogs Lose Their Friends (Original post)
jtuck004 Feb 2013 OP
barbtries Feb 2013 #1
Fridays Child Feb 2013 #2
Stinky The Clown Feb 2013 #3
Mnemosyne Feb 2013 #6
Raster Feb 2013 #8
bluedigger Feb 2013 #4
Mnemosyne Feb 2013 #5
zbdent Feb 2013 #7
agracie Feb 2013 #9
grilled onions Feb 2013 #11
Helen Reddy Feb 2013 #10
Iwillnevergiveup Feb 2013 #12
peace13 Feb 2013 #13
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #14
mckara Feb 2013 #15
pacalo Feb 2013 #16
calimary Feb 2013 #17
SheilaT Feb 2013 #18
question everything Feb 2013 #19
virgdem Feb 2013 #20
BadGimp Feb 2013 #21
Auntie Bush Feb 2013 #22
CrispyQ Feb 2013 #23
Auntie Bush Feb 2013 #27
Hatchling Feb 2013 #24
eridani Feb 2013 #29
kas125 Feb 2013 #25
Phentex Feb 2013 #30
jtuck004 Feb 2013 #26
DainBramaged Feb 2013 #28
DainBramaged Feb 2013 #31
jtuck004 Feb 2013 #32

Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:09 PM

1. i'm sorry for your loss.

it's wonderful what you did for Adam.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:09 PM

2. Thanks for these insights.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:24 PM

3. I'm sorry for your and Adam's loss.



I don't want to attribute human traits to a dog . . . . .



Nor do I, but dammit, they DO understand. They ARE connected. They DO grieve. They DO have emotions.

No, they're not humans. They're dogs. Their love is more pure. It is unconditional.

Just recently was that picture of the German Shepherd Dog in Italy, attending daily Mass, as he had for years, even after his mistress left him.

The stories are legion of dogs grieving the loss of their humans.

Please be well. And give Adam a gentle scratch under his little chin and tell him Stinky understands.




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Response to Stinky The Clown (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:02 PM

6. Dogs are pure unadulterated hope. Simple and unconditional love, if only we humans would take after

dogs more, what a kinder world it would be.

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Response to Stinky The Clown (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:04 PM

8. Thanks, Stinky. You summed up my thoughts, exactly.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:25 PM

4. It was very kind of you to include Adam in your grieving.

And thank you for including us as well.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:59 PM

5. Oh jtuck, so very sorry about your Grandma. What a lucky dog Adam is to have such wise humans.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:02 PM

7. be sure to save an article of clothing she had worn

for your dog. It might also help. Might be part of the reason he keeps going into her room.

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Response to zbdent (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:13 PM

9. Excellent advice. n/t

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Response to zbdent (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:42 PM

11. A Similar "Trick" Could Be Used If The Dog's Best Friend Is Forced ...

...in a hospital or rehab setting where pets are not allowed. Take an item(maybe even a Milk-Bone) to the hospital/rehab for the pet owner to hold and give scent to the item and then take it home to the lonely pet.
If a pet spent a lot of time on the bed an old blanket makes a perfect "gift" for the grieving pet. They will remember that loved human for a long time.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:15 PM

10. Lovely

 

just lovely.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:51 PM

12. What a story

There seems to be a great deal of two-way comforting going around in your household. Grandma sounds like a wonderful person and undoubtedly knew she was leaving Adam in good hands. Which she was. Shout-out to the director, too...what an understanding heart.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:57 PM

13. Thank you or this.

I send you love and energy. Your story is very touching.

Yesterday our 20 year old cat died and we were torn as to what to do about hs 4 year old 'brother'. We ended up letting the youngster in to see his brother. He sniffed and looked and seemed to understand. He came back for another pass and then went and laid down. I think he will heal much faster for this. I know your dogger will do the same. An extra smile for Grandma was special for looking after her friend. These are the finer things of life!

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 11:09 PM

14. Thank you for posting this. n/t

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 11:17 PM

15. My Chihuahua is the Same with My Mom...

who is 85 years old and currently sick in the hospital. Quique misses her every minute that she is away and wakes up in the middle of the night to mournfully howl for his missing mother. I have never seen a more emotional animal in my life and I have become more keenly aware of all mammals who feel the joys, pains and sorrows of living as we do. Our oneness with the world and all living things should guide us throughout our lives and motivate us to cherish our roles as stewards of the planet and our world. We should love and appreciate our furry friends and remember that their lives are as equally precious as ours.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 11:22 PM

16. How sad!

I'm sorry for your loss, jtuck, & am really touched by Adam's love for Grandma. We had a Dalmation in the early 90's that had a strong attachment to me. My husband likened it to the song "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone"; our dog literally grieved whenever I left the house without him.

I like the idea of letting Adam use one of Grandma's articles of clothing to use as a blanket.

You sound like a wonderful, understanding person. My best to you & your family -- & give Adam a hug from me.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 11:28 PM

17. Beautiful story and beautiful thoughts.

Thank you for posting about this. Our animals are WUNNNNNNderful.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 11:31 PM

18. Thank you for posting this.

Our canine and feline friends are absolutely amazing. I'm a cat person myself, not all that fond of dogs, but I totally get it about the companionship aspect. They are totally wonderful, and help make us more completely human.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 11:42 PM

19. What a loving tribute to both grandma and Adam

how precious their bond was.



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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:28 AM

20. I'm so sorry for your loss..

what a beautiful and heartfelt story of love and devotion. You did the right thing by letting Adam get closure with the loss of his human. May your Grandma rest in peace.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:00 AM

21. Thank you for this post

Very sorry for your loss...

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 09:16 AM

22. Thanks for all the things I learned on this post. Wish I had known them when

my Mom, and son died. (both lived with us and loved our animals.) I always wondered what they thought when they just disappeared from our lives.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:00 PM

23. I've cried at a lot of movies, but never as much as when I saw "Hachi: A Dog's Tale."

Why do so many people think that because animals don't rationalize, that they don't have emotions? Of course they do!

My sympathies on your loss & special scratches for Adam.

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Response to CrispyQ (Reply #23)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 05:33 PM

27. I loved thay movie,"Hachi", Saw it twice on TV. Tried to get it on DVD but couldn't. Bummer!

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:10 PM

24. They mourn when they lose their pet friends as well.

My cat Salem lost his best buddy Wally (yrs ago), then his sister Squeaky(3 yrs ago), and then his second best buddy Mooch(1 yr ago). Each time he went through a grieving process that was saddening to see. Each time it was a case of having to take his friend to the vet for a illness for which there was no cure and I had to put one of my babies down.

Currently his last buddy has a paw injury (which is not life threatening) and he is in a panic. He won't leave her side except to eat or come to crawl in my lap (which he rarely does) because he is worried that he might lose her as well.

Don't try to tell me that animals don't have the same emotions we do. I won't buy it.

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Response to Hatchling (Reply #24)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:42 AM

29. Yes, they do. Rusty the lab got very attached to a young orange female cat--

--who came with a poet who was to stay with a friend of mine to teach for a semester. Daisy was always on top of Rusty, riding around while awake, and sleeping too--unless they decided to play chase up and down the stairs. When Daisy and her poet went back home, Rusty was just inconsolable, walking around the house, sniffing at all the spots, and no kitty.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 03:12 PM

25. I'm going through the same thing with one of my dogs, who loved my dad.

Dad died at the end of October, at home. The dogs knew. One of them was very sad, all he did the day dad died was lie in his kennel looking sad. That night I put one of the blankets from dad's bed in there and he seemed to like having it there, but he still acted very sad; for a few weeks he just wasn't himself.

It's been a few months now and he seemed to be back to his old, playful self again but a couple nights ago I found a dvd that said it was from my nephew's high school graduation party almost 20 years ago. I wanted to remind myself how cute my kids were back when they were little, so I put the disc into my computer. The first part of the disc was the video my dad had taken and he was doing his goofy version of narrating, talking about everything he was filming. That poor dog went absolutely nuts trying to find where dad's voice was coming from; I had to take the disc out and I still haven't watched it. So, now the poor dog has been acting sad all over again for the last two days. It's heartbreaking when they are sad and we can't help them get over it...

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Response to kas125 (Reply #25)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:21 PM

30. That's so sad...

I try to remember the joy but it's very hard when you think about how confused the dog must be.

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 06:45 PM

26. WANTED TO SAY THANK YOU TO EVERYONE from our little gang here.


My wife especially. She read through all the comments and appreciated them more than you can know. It's can be very hard to lose the one parent that raised you, the one you could count on to be there through all your life, as those of us who have been through this know. But at least I can try and figure out when it is getting overwhelming and make us take a break from it all.

Adam seems to be doing fine, and there is a lot of extra holding and hugging going on. Probably will be for awhile. And, of course, Evie (Chi/Pom), Lacey (Jindo mix), Charlie (English Setter), Shelby (Anatolian Shepherd) , and especially Boudreaux-Boudreaux, or "Buddy" (the Shar-pei terrier mix everyone thinks is a pit bull) all point out that cooked up turkey bacon should help her tremendously, especially when it is shared with them.

Btw, I have a messenger bag, olive drab, kinda plain, took all the books out and put Adam in there for the visit. In case anyone might have something similar in mind. Nice hiding place, especially if you hold a treat inside to keep them occupied while someone else clears the way.

Again, thank you.




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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 05:44 PM

28. That made my day

I am SO SO SORRY for your loss, I lost my Mom of 92 a couple of years ago. But your story warmed my heart. I am sure her spirit is near him now comforting him.


ALL my best

DB

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Response to jtuck004 (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:00 AM

31. K&R again

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Response to DainBramaged (Reply #31)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:21 PM

32. And thank you again. n/t

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