Dogs and Grief, How You Can Help
Dogs, like people have different personalities, each being an individual. When a family experiences the loss of a dog and they have another dog(s), the one left behind will grieve the loss of the passing pack member.
Some dogs grieve longer than others but in general, compared to their human counterparts their grieving process is less emotional and much shorter. However if the human puts all their emotions into the dog(s) that is left it can certainly extend the grieving process and may even create some behavioral problems.
While it can be difficult for you the best approach is:
1. If possible allow the companion dog(s) to be present at the Euthanasia. A mobile veterinarian can typically perform an in home euthanasia allowing for a peaceful passing and the presence of the other pack members.
2. Keep your emotions in check as much as possible. Easier said than done for sure! And yes a little extra TLC goes a long way, but too much can do more harm than good.
3. Keep a normal routine going. This helps dogs feel safe, secure and helps to relieve or keep stress to a minimum.
4. Some added exercise is in order as this will get their feel good chemicals (endorphins) flowing, helping them to be in a peaceful, happy state. The same will work for you as well so get out and walk!
5. This is a great time to introduce some training as a means of stimulating your dog’s brain in a positive way. Perhaps some agility, nose work or some good old fashioned basic obedience is in order. Dogs thrive on learning new things.
Remember, time heals and you and your canine companion will feel happy again one day, maybe even enough to open your heart and your home to another dog in need of a family.
Terie Hansen is Owner of Good Dog! Coaching & Pet Care visit www.gooddogcoaching.com for more information.