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Old 06-20-2012, 02:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Helping the Critters Grieve

One of my ancient Himalayans (somewhere between 15 and 17 years old) had a stroke two nights ago, or so I and the vet think. Dr. W recommended bringing him home to see if there was some other neuro reason for the sudden confusion and extreme wobblies that might resolve itself, especially since he's been in such good health. Unfortunately, Shaggy isn't getting any better and we've made the decision to let him go. Shaggy's brother Gizmo, the 3 year old mutt cat George, and the 1 year old GSD Piper are all still doing well. Shaggy is resting in Piper's crate until we take him to the vet this afternoon.

Gizmo seems to have already said his goodbyes, gave Shag a lick on the forehead and left, hasn't looked back. George treated Shag like his Mom since he came home at 14 weeks old. He's also picked on Shaggy, but always comes back to him when wanting comfort. George keeps hanging around the crate and goes to sit with Shaggy when given the chance. Piper has given Shag several hugs when he's sitting on our lap or the couch. She's concerned but not hovering.

Since this is my first fur baby to go, here's my question. What should I be prepared for in terms of grieving amongst the other animals? How or can I help them at all? We aren't planning on any new animals until after Gizmo passes and I don't know how much of a comfort George will be... he's kind of a brat.

Thanks for your ideas.
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Old 06-20-2012, 02:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There is a certain 'social standing' among all the critters. It takes a while after the passing of a long standing member for the rest of the critters to settle into a 'new' normal.

Some may appear more needy, some may act out and perhaps resort to a behavior they haven't shown in a long time, like marking or jumping on the furniture. Some may wander about the house looking for the lost member, while another may move into the space Shaggy claimed as his own - like a crate or pillow.

Truly sorry to hear about Shaggy, but it's wonderful that he has lived so long being loved through out your home.
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Old 06-20-2012, 02:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Animal are like humans in thst they each grieve differently. Bonded pairs or packs take loss hard and it usually takes a few days or even weeks. They may be mopey, I've lost several animals and I do believe they know what happened.

There's really not much you can do to prepare them but give them lots of love and attention and let them help you as well
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I wanted to ask a similar question not too long ago but felt the topic was too sensitive and I've never lost a critter (with my 2 dogs and my 6 cats) so it was hard for me to phrase. I googled around a bit. But honestly nothing beats other people's experiences. I don't mean to probe, but thank you for sharing. Everyone.
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Old 06-20-2012, 04:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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When my dog Delilah passed away, her sister Jasmine grieved for a long time. She would lay on the spot where delilah died and would not move. It was very sad. It just goes to show how sensitive dogs are and how much they care about each other.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I can guarantee they know what happened. When we lost Milo at 6 mos old his litter mate Rocco went into a "blue funk" for over two weeks. He would just lay in the spot in the kitchen where Milo died, he wouldn't eat or want to go for walks, etc. After 2 weeks he started to perk up a bit, except for the appetite. We just brought home an 8 week old puppy and Rocco went nuts for the puppy. He is eating like the old Rocco and he has some jump in his step. There are still times when he gets depressed, but the new addition has really brought joy to us all, including Rocco.

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Old 06-30-2012, 11:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think there is a big difference in the animal dying at home and being taken to a vet and euthanized. We've had a few die here at home, and when that happened, the other animals picked up on it and did seem to react to it, some grieved, some just seemed spooked for a few days.
When we've taken a dog/cat to the vet to be euthanized, I'm not sure it has the same impact. Maybe because we take ours out apart from each other on a regular basis (sometimes to a trial or seminar). They are gone for a few days and the ones at home seem to think they will be back I think. They do pick up on our emotions regardless, so will react to that, which may seem like grieving but I'm not sure that it is. The last time I put one of *mine* to sleep (all the pets in our family belong to a specific person) the other dogs/cats were very attuned to me. I will say I was a total basket case for the first 48 hours. I came in the door from the vet and totally lost it. I remember Griff (my daughter's sable GSD) who is the gentlest of souls just cocked his head at me and my blubbering. I actually laughed through the tears and then he came and laid on top of me almost. He stayed with me for a while and then went and found my daughter and he was done LOL.
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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When my lab had a stroke, I spent the last night with him on the floor The next morning before we were getting ready to take him to the vet, every animal in the house said their goodbyes. He was an old man, so the cats never bothered with him much..I have pictures of the cats rubbing against him and giving kisses that morning. They all adjusted rather well with no major issues. My mom passed away a couple weeks ago and her dog is very sad. I don't know if they grieve the same way for people as they do other pets, but it is noticeable. Very sorry about Shaggy
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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you and your cat shared a fine life together. i don't think
you need to do anything special for your other pets.
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