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What about the pets your pet leaves behind?

Pets grieve too. How could they not. Losing a pet can be a very difficult experience, both for you and for your surviving pets.

We have a 9 year old rescued Cavapoo named Eddie that was left behind by BB when she crossed. I knew he was sad. He looked for BB and couldn't find her. It was heartbreaking to watch him search and then look at me in confusion. This was one of those time I really wished he could speak so I could help him heal in the ways he needed.

If your pet is grieving the loss of a companion here're some ways you can help them cope:

  • Spend quality time with your living pet. Offer extra attention, cuddles, and playtime.

  • Dogs especially thrive on routine and predictability. Stick to your regular feeding, exercise, and play schedules

  • Pets may exhibit signs of grief, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or searching for the deceased dog. Give them space to process these emotions

  • Keep an eye on your pet's physical and emotional well-being. If you notice prolonged signs of distress or significant changes in behavior, consult a veterinarian

  • If your pet's grief seems overwhelming or persists for an extended period, consider seeking advice from a professional animal behaviorist or a veterinarian

  • Consider another companion for your existing pet.

I didn’t realize the true depth of his sadness until we brought him home a new dog sibling almost a year later. It was miraculous… he started to play again. I caught him eating a bone he ignored since BB crossed. His tail started to wag more frequently and that was a welcomed sign of happiness. Please remember, this is a sensitive decision and should only be made when you and your surviving pets are ready. Introducing a new pet should be done gradually and with careful consideration. Eddie loves to wag his tail and I always check the girth of his tail, I call this his happiness meter, it had been very small and limp for months. My happiness meter was also broken. Poor Eddie, his heart was broken too. About a week after we brought home CC his happiness meter was going off more frequently and when I checked the width of his tail, sure enough… it was growing. I couldn’t believe it.. He was missing BB just as much as we had been but couldn’t express it as easily.

When BB crossed I swore I would never ever ever get another dog as long as I lived because I couldn’t go through losing a soul dog the way I lost BB. I never thought I would have the courage and Eddie has truly stepped into the new role as a big brother to CC. And wow, he is shining. He’s such a good boy. The most loving and well behaved dog you’ve ever met. He’s polite and thoughtful. He does whatever you tell him to do. How can I be so lucky to have two soul dogs back to back?

Pay attention to your dog's cues and adjust your approach accordingly. Additionally, if you're struggling with your own grief, it might be helpful to seek support from friends, family, or a counselor who understands the bond between humans and their pets.

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