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 Post subject: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:07 pm 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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Any advice on dealing with this?

My dog, Emma, lost her best friend almost two weeks ago, and I'm a little worried about her. She seems really lonely and codependent, which is expected. Eating fine and still sociable, though. When we first got her, she would cry when anybody left the room. Now that Gizmo's gone, she won't go outside alone, is at my side always, and stands at the door or cries when my husband leaves.

I'm trying not to cry in front of her, so she doesn't feel even worse. I've been spending a bunch of time with her and cuddling her, so she seems happy in those regards. I've just never dealt with this before and I find myself overwhelmed with my own grief and wanting to make her not lonely anymore. I even visited a shelter, which only served to make me feel super awful because I'm so far from emotionally ready to move on.

The stuff I've read online has just said to stick to a routine, but I was wondering if anybody had any other tips?

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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:17 pm 
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i would try to focus on making her happy by doing things she likes (even if this might seem inappropriate to you)- gallivant in the park, play ball, go out to dog park, etc etc with positive energy. What we think of as giving comfort might not be interpreted as comfort by the dog, and she may be nervous because not only is her best friend gone, but you are acting differently. And if you guys go out and have fun then she can get reinforcement that you are there for her.
Big hugs MM. I'm so sorry about Gizmo.

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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:34 pm 
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torque wrote:
i would try to focus on making her happy by doing things she likes (even if this might seem inappropriate to you)- gallivant in the park, play ball, go out to dog park, etc etc with positive energy. What we think of as giving comfort might not be interpreted as comfort by the dog, and she may be nervous because not only is her best friend gone, but you are acting differently. And if you guys go out and have fun then she can get reinforcement that you are there for her.



This is what I was going to suggest. If you can get her to interact with other dogs, then maybe she won't feel so lonely.

I'm really sorry about your dog.


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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:41 pm 
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Thanks for the advice. Emma has never really been into most dogs, especially females, but I have noticed her wanting to play with the neighbor's dogs through our fence. So, we'll definitely have to take her to a dog park.

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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:23 pm 
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Just like yourself, time will be the great healer. It sounds like you are great in caring about your pets grieving also and will do what is best for her.

I don't have experience with this because when my first old girl died, my last one was happier without her. Now that I have two, 10 month old litter mate kittens, I have thought of this: What if something happens to one at a younger age? I can only hope they both live to an old age like my last two girls.


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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:27 pm 
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I am so sorry for your loss. Did gizmo die at home? After our cat Emma died our other cat was really distraught because Emma died at a hospital and Sputnik just thought Emma went away. I heard later that if they can see that their friend has died it helps them to grieve. Obviously it is too late now, but I am glad I know for the future. Again, I am so sorry that you lost gizmo, losing a pet is one of the hardest things i have ever gone through


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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:52 pm 
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Chester was solid depressed over Bonny for about a month. Since I uh, had her body, I let him see her in hopes that it would help him understand and he wouldn't just think she had disappeared, but he didn't seem that interested. Interested is probably the wrong word, but he didn't seem to 'get it' right away. He didn't eat much for about a week and didn't want to go out, but slowly he got better. We spent a lot of time watching t.v. in bed together and eating chips.

Chester is a people dog so I wasn't worried about getting him a new companion, but I will tell you that my father-in-law got a new dog two weeks after his dog died, and his other dog ripped her fur out for a couple of weeks because she wasn't ready for a replacement. If she's super bummed out, she'll probably be even more bummed out with a new dog so soon. And if you aren't ready, definitely don't do it! Emma will adjust to being a single dog, then she'll adjust to her new friend when you guys are ready.

P.S. I started looking at yorkie rescues and petfinder within weeks, and I felt guilty too. I knew I was ready when I picked Fawkes for Fawkes, not because I wanted Any Dog. When I started actively looking, it took a few weeks of meeting dogs and feeling nothing until I stumbled upon the smelliest, skinniest, most pathetic dog I could find.

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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:36 pm 
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Thanks y'all. <3

littlebear wrote:
Did gizmo die at home?

No. Everything happened really fast. He had absolutely no signs of being ill, but he suddenly lost a bunch of weight and wouldn't eat. We took him in for a physical exam and his vitals were great. We switched vets and took him in for blood work, and we found out he was extremely anemic. 2 days later, we got an xray and discovered a huge tumor in his spleen, and the vet told us that even if it was removed he had less than a year to live and he would be in pain and sick the entire time. I was such a wreck that it completely slipped my mind to take Emma with us when we euthanized him.

MBM, thanks for the advice. I think there is definitely this feeling of desperation on my part. We adopted Emma because Gizmo was lonely and they truly were the best of friends. So having that absence feels really wrong. Especially, because she was sniffing for him and looking for him because his scent was still in the house and car. The closest I've ever come to experiencing this is when my childhood dog died. My dad brought home a new puppy the same day so he could deal. It worked for him, but I just know I can't deal that way.

As for Emma, I like the idea of letting her adjust first. It will definitely be easier for her and whatever new dog we adopt.

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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:38 pm 
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I am so sorry for your loss.

My little one (11 1/2 your old maltese) has survived 3 dogs (we had an elderly dog when we got her, followed by a very sick rescue, followed by an elderly rescue). Each time she mourned long & hard. She lost weight, refused to potty outside, and slept a lot.

She also struggled with each new addition. When you are ready to adopt make sure to take her with you and introduce them on neutral territory. Also be prepared in case she acts up a little. Angel decided to start peeing in the house with each new addition and we had to go back crate training. I think the easiest addition for her was our last rescue dalmatian who was elderly & gentle. He followed her and looked to her for everything and they got along very quickly. The hardest addition was our last one, a puppy. After losing 2 rescues so quickly I wanted a puppy from a quality breeder this time. It has been almost 2 years and she still doesn't like him...she tolerates him but doesn't like him.

How old is Emma?


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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:57 pm 
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Kweldon wrote:
How old is Emma?

Emma is gonna be 8 this year. She's a spunky little chihuahua mix with probably more energy now than she had when we adopted her 7 years ago. Haha.

She tends to be very protective when she meets new dogs, but warms up to them as long as they aren't females.

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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:59 pm 
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One thing I did for me to do for Chester was get him a giant stuffed dog. We named him Bernard.

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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:11 pm 
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Kweldon wrote:
After losing 2 rescues so quickly I wanted a puppy from a quality breeder this time.

i don't really understand this line of reasoning. it's incredibly sad to lose an animal, but i don't get why one would turn to a breeder, even after losing rescues early on... in my eyes, breeders are never the way to go.


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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:59 am 
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I'm certainly not a fan of breeders either. I know you are discussing dogs but my kittens were Craig's list rescues. In 5 days, I was the only one who called and will always wonder about the two male kittens I didn't take. I could only take two. I personally would not ever buy from a breeder. My close friend has 3 golden retrievers all from breeders. And while I don't agree (but would never tell her that) if someone gets a pet from a breeder and gives that animal a home for the animals entire life, than they are doing better than some. Lots of animals who were bought from breeders also end up in shelters or become rescues. My friends 3 goldens are so cared for and loved. It's not the way I would go but I give credit to those who care for an animal for their life.


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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:44 pm 
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Aww, I'm so sorry, to you and Gizmo. My dog Roxy lost two dog sisters and became an only dog for about six months. She hated that, but honestly, I was surprised she didn't appear to care more than she did. She's kind of a stoic animal, though. She and our other dog lived together from age 1 to age 9 and lost their 3 year old new addition when they were both about 8, but still had each other. They seemed a little confused, but they didn't really act differently. They didn't get to say goodbye/see her dead/sick etc. When the second, older dog died at age 9, it was the first time Roxy was an only dog. She started going through the garbage out of boredom? distress? I don't know. I tried to give her a lot of attention and love and we ended up getting two rescue puppies about six months later, which probably made her wish she was still alone, ha. But truthfully, she was good with the puppies and tolerated them a lot better than I thought she would (she is very jealous and usually does not like puppies). Now they're all a pack together, but the two siblings are definitely closer, so I would get one dog at a time next time. I hope Gizmo cheers up.

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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:59 pm 
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I'm sorry you lost Gizmo xxx

Guinea pigs can go downhill really fast when a companion dies, sometimes even dying themselves soon after. Ours live in pairs so we'll be keeping a close eye on any who lose a friend.


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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:05 am 
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I've wanted to post in this thread for a long time, but it's still such a raw deal for me.

Frodo has done really well since he's been in the same routine, but it also helps that I'm ridiculously clingy now. Extra attention seems to help a ton. Maybe try to keep Emma really busy, teach her new tricks, get her some new toys or something. Also, give her even more snuggles than usual. Every once in awhile I catch Frodo obviously being sad about Sassy, so I'll snatch him off the ground for cuddles. Also, don't be too worried about keeping your grief hidden from Emma. Maybe the two of you will be able to bond through the situation (at least that's the case for Frodo and I)

So much love to you two!

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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 12:33 am 
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I am really sorry for your loss. They are never with us long enough. Never.

After I euthanized my first canine companion, Jake, I brought him home so my cats (that had known him their whole life) would know he was gone. They really didn't seem to "get it" either. My next dog, Ella, died at home, and again, the cats Henry and Percy sniffed for a minute or two, and just weren't that interested. (Although they and my 2nd dog never really got along). It may not have mattered for your Emma, anyway. Again, I'm sorry, and hugs your way from Idaho.

My cats are past 15 now, and I feel I am seeing them in the winter of their lives.

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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:03 pm 
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Thanks for all the advice!

To update: It's been almost 6 weeks, and we've gotten into a good routine. Emma is no longer sniffing around looking for Gizzy. She's been sleeping with us, though. Not sure if that is gonna help the situation in the long run, but I just don't want her sleeping alone, and they were always cuddling together.

Emma seems to be getting used to the absence of Gizmo, so I think that will make it easier when we adopt another dog in the future.

As for me, I've mostly moved from the place of sadness and just focus on remembering how much joy he brought us.

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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:48 pm 
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aw, man, my family will be going through this after tomorrow. we have two dogs and a cat...the older dog, starr, 12 years old, is being euthanised tomorrow...so not looking forward to this

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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:49 pm 
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it's good to read all the advice on here - my other pets will be awfully lonely and sad.

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 Post subject: Re: Pets Dealing with Pet Loss
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:09 am 
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Semiautomatic, so sorry to hear about Starr. <3

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