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Impact of death on surviving dogs

Discussion in 'Sheltie Chat' started by Sharon7, May 19, 2019.

  1. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Moderator

    Oct 31, 2009
    Southern California
    Most of our passings have been where the dog disappears to the vet, us frantic, usually in the middle of the night, and never comes back. Brooke's passing was at home as I prayed, filled with emotion and grief but not traumatic. She lay in state with a lit candle on our bathroom floor overnight and Faith and Eli went in to see her in the morning. They were very subdued, sniffed her all over. Faith departed first, Eli took more time, and kept searching my face as well.

    I have seen each set of dogs left behind grieve to some extent. The most heartbreaking was Ally searching all over for Asta, her BFF. Faith and Eli are not moping, they play, eat well, go on walks. But they seem subdued still. They avoid the places that were Brooke's typical hang-out spots, and Eli, who used to covet Brooke's cushy plush bed, has completely avoided it. Faith did go into our bathroom the next day which she never does, I presume she was looking for Brooke.

    I know they key off our emotions too, and we are so sad and I still have crying spells.

    I wonder what others have experienced.
    KarenCurtis likes this.
  2. Sandy in CT

    Sandy in CT Premium Member

    Aug 5, 2018
    Buddy was the first that I have had pass at home. He had degraded to a point where I called our vet in; it was tramatic for me, more so for her vet tech as his was not an easy passing. We had Kooper in his kennel during the actual procedure, but she sat with us for an hour and let all three cats come in, check him out, have some time. Kooper checked him out but was more into her tech bag - he has a thing about zippers and having to overcome them to see what is inside. When Buddy was finally picked up to be brought out of the house, he once again showed interest in Buddy so she sat on the floor and let him do what he needed to do. 2 of the cats and Kooper, had no overwhelming issues with his death and we really did not see depression or anything.

    Rusty, our orange cat, had major issues. He sat and watched everything, never left Buddy's side from start to finish. Sat with him afterwards for the longest time. After Buddy's death, he became anxious, fearful, tense. I had some issues with him urinating in the powder room sink. I finally put him on a trans dermal anti-anxiety medicine which he got daily. The sink urinating stopped immediately, but he remained very anxious. I was so fearful of his reaction when we brought Brodie into the family. Buddy passed in February, Brodie came into our home in January. Rusty almost instantaneously calmed down and I started skipping days for his anxiety meds. He reacted very positively so I stopped them altogether. Rusty is like a new cat with Brodie here, still doesn't like garbage bags or the clang of my stainless pots, but is changed for the better and has not been on meds in months.

    I would never again have one of our pets in the room if we had to make a call such as that again. I would do the before visit, definitely the after visit, but I would never again allow one pet to watch another pass in that manner.
    Sharon7, Ann and Caro like this.
  3. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Moderator

    Jun 26, 2015
    Winnipeg Mb
    When I had my Cocker and my mom had a Corgi cross her Corgi had to be put down (she was 16 1/2) and Daisy (my girl) moped for the longest time. They weren't bff's like Piper and Finnie but knew each other since Daisy was a pup.
    Sharon7 likes this.
  4. Caro

    Caro Moderator

    Jan 14, 2009
    Canberra, Australia
    Tully was with Deska when he died - but it actually stressed her out. And even after seeing him die she would still look for him at the vets, so I don't think she understands death. She has only just started going to Deska's 'spot' on the couc. I think has gotten used to being an only dog, but only because she's with me all the time nowadays and gets to go places she couldn't before. If left home by herself she gets very stressed and still won't go into the backyard alone. The turning point was when she tried to steal Deska's bday cake - I think it clicked he wasn't coming home. It's probably different for Tully as an only dog now, and she had Deska around for her entire 11 years and they'd been through stressful times when they were separated from me last year.

    Tell you who has been stressed out - the cats. They still are restless and pacing. Years ago when Benson (Sheltie) died, the cat grieved for 2 years until he died, it was gut wrenching, they were best friends and the cat was raised with Benson. I think cats are stressed easier and upset with change, but also Deska did keep us all busy.
    Sharon7 likes this.
  5. Caro

    Caro Moderator

    Jan 14, 2009
    Canberra, Australia
    Gosh just read your story - thank you for that. The cats didn't see Deska die, but I think it was too stressful for Tully and will never do that again - she didn't understand anyway. I am hoping bringing a puppy home later in the year will settle Katkat, not sure what difference it will make to the older cat, but good to hear it helped with Brodie. I never got another pet after Benson so Sam (the cat) was alone.
  6. Chris

    Chris Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    All our dogs except Annie Laurie died at home in the presence of their human and animal family. Beckon has always been the one most affected. When his little buddy Roo Chinchilla died, he just stared at his body for ten minutes.Then he sniffed him, turned and left. They know and understand.
    Sharon7 likes this.
  7. SheepOfBlue

    SheepOfBlue Premium Member

    Oct 15, 2009
    Spitfire was absolutely wrecked when Sca died. He really did not recover until I got Angus. They are even better buddies that he and Sca were.
    Sharon7 likes this.
  8. Calliesmom

    Calliesmom Moderator

    Mar 29, 2008
    near Mobile, AL
    I actually got Cranberry in preparation for the loss of one of the two dogs that I had then. I thought it would be good for that one to not be alone. unfortunately Cran was still too much puppy for Callie when we lost Happy and they both missed him a lot so that's why there's a Dixie.
    Cran and Dix missed Callie when she was gone but they were pretty good together - but I needed a Jocu.
    Sandy in CT and Sharon7 like this.
  9. mimiretz

    mimiretz Premium Member

    Oct 14, 2014
    There is no doubt in my mind that our pets grieve when one dies. They have their own unique relationships with each other. Our previous dog, Mercutio (a Samoyed) was raised with cats -- to the point I think he might have thought he was a cat! His best kitty friend was Persephone. Persephone died at home, near my desk. We got a new cat (our current kitty, Casanova) shortly after Persephone passed. We used to call Mercutio Cassie's babysitter -- he followed the kitten around and always knew exactly where Cas was. Mercutio was extremely gentle with the baby. The only time he ever barked at Cassie was when Cassie tried to go to the place where Persephone died - Mercutio simply would not allow Casanova to be in that particular spot. We're not sure if there was something holy about that spot in hi mind or if he thought there was something there that killed cats, but it was off limits to Cassie.
  10. Hanne

    Hanne Premium Member

    Nov 13, 2014
    When I made the hard decision that the time had come to say goodbye to my 14½ year old GSD,
    I called the vet - to get a room where I could say goodbye and stay
    until I felt ready to leave her and her soul had left her.

    Our last trip should only be her and me
    Therefore - her 10 y son - had to be home and not with us in the car.

    When I got home - her son came running out to scold? his mother
    because she had been with me in the car without him.

    I was so sorry - so I just went into the house to put my bag in the closet

    -he came in quietly to me - pushing his head right up to my right hand (It was just as he took my hand)
    here he stood for several minutes and sniffed all over my palm.

    When he finished - I showed him my left palm
    but it had no interest he just turned around and walked away ???

    I wondered about this - until I could see the connection
    I had been sitting and cuddling her with my right hand for a long, long time while she left this world.

    After this I believe our pets have an extra sense
    He was aware she had left us - he never search for her - since he left me after sniffed my hand
    mimiretz, Sandy in CT, Ann and 2 others like this.

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