It’s been a few months since I have put paw to pen and paper and blogged. To tell you the truth I have been a little down lately, which brings me to the subject of my blog: “Do Dogs Grieve When A Companion Animal Passes?”. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that we do. You see, I lost my friend, Simon, in February. Simon came to live with us a couple of years ago and I loved him like a brother. This is one of my favorite pictures of Simon with my other brother, Jet, and me. Simon is the one getting swatted in the face with Jet’s tail. Makes me laugh every time I look at it. Simon was so good-natured, he didn’t mind a tail swat or much else for that matter. He was gentle, loving and kind – all the good things that made him what my family calls “The Best Dog Ever.”
I have been doing some research on grieving to help me understand what I’m feeling and why it was so hard to get off the floor for a few days. Turns out a recent study funded by the wonderful folks at the Morris Animal Foundation (see my recent blog on why this research group is so near and dear to my heart, https://fourpetssake.com/blog/sugar-tells-us-about-her-role-in-the-golden-retriever-lifetime-study/) shows that both dogs and cats engage in grief-like behavior after the loss of a furry family member. These behaviors typically include a decreased appetite, more time sleeping and continually checking the spots where our friends used to hang out. For Simon, that would include every dog bed in the house since he never met a dog bed he didn’t like. I prefer human beds but that’s a subject for a future blog. Cats also showed their grief by being more vocal. Both cats and dogs seemed to show no difference in behavior if their friend passed away in the home and they were a witness to the passing.
None of this surprised me and helped me understand that I wasn’t alone. For now, I talk to the “Simon box” that sits on our mantle with a plaque declaring him “The Best Dog Ever” and I tell him that I will see him again one day at Rainbow Bridge. Rest in perfect peace Simon.