They say that having a dog will bring you some of the happiest days of your life and one of the worst. I’ve had a dog for the majority of my life and have been lucky enough to never experience that day. Until recently.
If you’re family is like mine, losing a dog is losing a family member. The house seems larger and quieter. Everything feels wrong and off. A part of your heart feels like it’s missing.
What makes it even harder is if you have another dog who suddenly is without his sibling. The day Lupin’s sister died, he sat at the top of the stairs, crying, knowing something was wrong with her. After, he was visibly depressed. He follows family members more and sleeps more.
Sometimes I wonder what’s worse, your own heart breaking or watching someone you love’s heart break. I quickly began scouring the internet for advise on what to do for him.
Every dog is different but I thought I would share the tips that worked for me and the Wolf.
Distraction. I’ve been walking Lupin a few times more per day. As soon as he gets outside in the sunshine, he perks up, smells everything and struts like he’s on a catwalk. I can see his mood visibly improve, even if temporarily, after.
Break up the day. I’m lucky that I only work a short distance from my house. He used to spend the workday with his sister and now he’s alone in the big empty room. If I can, I try to run home at lunch to take him for a short walk, snuggle and a handful of treats.
Removing her things. Abbey’s bed was ruined so we had to get rid of it after she passed but I also put her collar out of reach and took away her food and water bowls. He has a few of her toys left with him but everything else is his now.
Patience. From the day I brought him home, he has always wanted to know exactly where I am but he has become even more needy. If anyone is in the house, he does not want to be alone. Some people discourage allowing this behavior but I disagree. You have to know what your dog responds to and for Lupin, that’s affection (I trained him to walk in the city by giving him walks when he was scared, I’m not kidding).
I hadn’t given much thought to the dog grief process before but it’s very real and important.
Have you ever gone through this? Any tips to share? Lupin is by no means back to normal so any tips you have would be much appreciated!