Question about Grief. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-07-2012, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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Question about Grief.


We just put our 14 yr old Collie, Cheyenne, down. It was one of the hardest things I've personally had to do, but it was necessary. Her quality of life was slowly going down, but she was still happy and healthy. The last month, it was as if the bottom fell out. We wanted to do it before she got to point where we were rushing to find an emergency vet; the closest emergency vet to myself is over an hour away and we never wanted her to be in pain that wasn't controlled by low strenght non-narcotics. She got to the point very early Thursday morning where she was unable to stand and she urinated/deficated all over herself before my husband could pick her up and get her outside. We got the quickest appointment possible for our Princess and she went with all the grace she exhibited in this world.

My question is, what should I look for in my 4 year old WGSD, Finn? I have never had a multiple dog household until I "adopted" Chey by moving in with and marrying my husband. Finn has known her all of his life; we picked him up at 8 weeks and they've never been separated for longer than a day. If my husband took Chey out for a walk, Finn would sit by the front window until she came back.

We kenneled Finn before we left after making sure he got to love up on her one more time. When we came back with an empty leash and her pillow resting empty in her favorite spot, I'm sure he picked up on our mood immediately. He has a very high drive, but not even the combination of his "Jackpot" toy and treats could get him from going from the front door, to the pillow, to the garage where the car is, then repeating the process. After about an hour of this, he laid down on her pillow and whimpered for a while.

What are the warning signs that we've gone past the "standard" grieving period and that we are progressing to something that needs to be treated by a vet? I know to make sure he continues to eat and drink and I know the signs to watch for when it comes to dehydration and hypoglycemia from not eating, but I don't want to go to the vet every other day because he's "not acting right" for them to just tell us he's upset and to give him two scritches behind the ears and call them in the morning, but I don't want to miss a subtle, but important sign and create a bigger problem.

I'm also completely okay with people telling me I'm a little nuts and I should just let my dog do his thing. I've just never done this before and I don't really know what to do.

Thank you in advance.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-07-2012, 08:37 AM
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So sorry for your loss.
Your question is not silly at all. I have always had 2 dogs at a time and yes, I think our dogs grieve the loss of a companion as well.

(As hard as it is for us, I believe it's more difficult on them sometimes.
I've seen some go into complete shutdown.)

We usually give it a few months and get another...for all of us.
That may not be the right thing for everyone but we like having 2 dogs.

I'm not sure my reply answered your question.
I would try to keep the dogs activities as normal as possible and just watch for any abnormal things,
Whether it is in behaviour or eating, health, etc

Last edited by KatsMuse; 09-07-2012 at 08:44 AM. Reason: Not enough coffee yet :(
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-07-2012, 08:59 AM
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It takes time. We just lost our Daisy ,who was 12, a month ago. Lucky came to us at about a year. Daisy was always there. He has been different. The first two weeks he was not into his ball or food and seemed to go off by himself. We took him on vacation b/c we had our own loss issues and we worried Lucky couldnt handle another seperation. He did great there. He does still seems to be grieving. The first week he looked for Daisy. He is better but seems to still have less interest in playing ball. We hopefully will be adding a dog to our home soon. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful princess Callie. My thoughts are w/ you ,your husband and Finn.I would look for weight loss, any kind of compulsive behavior such licking or biting self.While the later is unusual for a grief reaction your mostly looking at things that interfere w/ their health and daily routine.Kind of like us.I was worried when Lucky just stayed on his bed but about a week later that started decreasing.I was told the grieving can last 6 to 8 weeks by several people and our vet tech.

Last edited by Daisy&Lucky's Mom; 09-07-2012 at 09:01 AM.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-07-2012, 09:17 AM
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There's a very interesting discussion about this on Patricia McConnell's blog "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back". You can google it or see it on her facebook page. There's a lot of good information on how to deal with a dog's grief as well as your own and many people wrote about their own experiences, along with links to other articles- one is about how the decision to put down a dog and going through that process has virtually the same affect on your body as surgery, so take care of yourselves too. I'm very sorry for your loss but you did what your Princess trusted you to do.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-07-2012, 10:36 AM
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I'm so sorry for your loss and your not nuts. It's very kind of you to think about how Finn feels. I'm sure he is missing her. Give him some extra love and some time.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-07-2012, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your answers. There is no question, we are going to get another pup. We'd like it to be a Shepherd, but the state we are moving to has breed restrictions against "Attack" dogs in a lot of apartments and homes. We are getting by because our Finn is in SAR Training, so we are getting a very small break in some places because of that, but I don't want to push it with two just yet.

The humans in the house are just getting over the death of a very close family member, so that part rocked our world. We just want to do right by our boy. We've already scheduled an appointment for Finn for a few weeks down the road just to make sure he's not hiding any physical ailment, which he is very prone to do. We just have to do this part together. Thank you for the article/blog suggestion.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-07-2012, 01:17 PM
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So sorry for the loss of your precious girl Cheyenne, hope that the pain lessons for you in time but from experience I know it will never go away. Some of my dogs have grieved and some have not with the loss of one of the pack, try to find fun things for your boy Finn to do to help him through this tough time.

karen, mom to:
ace-gsd (bi-color) 6/14/2010
mandy-yellow lab 1/31/2009
dixie-shep/lab 2/21/2013

baby-terrier mix (waiting at the bridge)
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-07-2012, 01:39 PM
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Stosh the blog by Patricia was a great read. I found it helpful. Thanks .
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-07-2012, 03:59 PM
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You're welcome. I thought it was too and it's been a few years since we had to put our last gsd down.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 12:08 PM
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I'm so sorry for your loss.

I can't help with your question, but I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am that all of your hearts are hurting.

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