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How Dogs Cope With Loss

I promise that this will be the last post regarding the passing of my sweet Aubie, so don’t run away in fear of my slipping away permanently into the land of sadness.  I guess, in a way, this is my own way of coping.

The weekend was a tough one.  Tears descended at random moments.

What was rough, though, was watching as Pele, Molly, and Gambit began coming to terms with Aubie’s absence.

Friday night, the Mr. found Pele and Gambit in the crate together.

It’s important to note that Pele has been grumpy the last few months and occasionally snarls at Gambit.  They’ve even gotten into arguments a time or two.  The fact that Pele allowed Gambit to snuggle close…more than once…spoke volumes.

Just look at their faces…

I decided it they needed snuggle time, so I got down on the floor with them…

Later that evening, when the dogs were out of the crate, Gambit managed to sidle up to Pele and eased down, resting his head on Pele’s back…

This dog is addicted to the warmth of other living beings.  He often slept curled up beside Aubie.

Later this weekend, I washed Aubie’s bedding.  She had drooled a lot, and the wound on her leg had leaked (gross), so before allowing the dogs to sleep on it, I wanted to clean it up.

I thought they would eagerly pounce on it when I put it back on the floor.

I was wrong.

First, they inspected it…

Pele wasn’t sure about things…not one bit…as you can see from the way he turned his head…

They continued to sniff…every single nook and cranny…

Before walking away…

First, Pele eased behind the bed…close but not in it.  The look on his face was too much for my frayed nerves…

It didn’t take him long to get up and find a different spot on the floor to rest.  In fact, so did the other dogs…

Pele got up for another look…

In the end, he just would not/could not step onto that bed.

It absolutely broke my heart, and I was reduced to tears…yet again.

Watching my dogs grieve…especially Pele…adds another layer of sadness.

Aubie was the only Mama that Pele knew.  He followed her everywhere.  He slept with her.  He sniffed every part of her if she went somewhere without him.  He had to make sure she was safe and sound.  She was Queen Bee, and he had no problem deferring to her.

Meanwhile, Molly, who fought for Queen Bee status with Aubie and, as a result, was kept separated from her, hasn’t had as difficult of an adjustment.  She climbed on in…

This is not to say that she hasn’t been affected, for she has.

We switched out Molly and Aubie, allowing each of them time out in the common living area.  Molly has always enjoyed being by herself…in a bedroom…under the bed where it’s cool and dark.

Now that Aubie is gone, we are leaving her in the common area full-time (partly to stop her from tearing up my bedspread, which she is prone to do on a regular basis).

She doesn’t seem to be enjoying her freedom and often retreats to the back hallway near Chicky’s room.  It’s dark there.

Poor girl.

She’s a bit antisocial.  We think she’s part cat.

And Gambit?  How is he doing?

He’s somewhere in the middle.  He got in Aubie’s bed this afternoon, which I was glad to see.  He senses my mood and has been sticking even closer to me than usual.  He’s not his usual bouncy self, but he’s a guy who has always been extra sensitive to our feelings.

I’ve learned a lot of things through this experience.

I’ve learned that grieving for a pet is okay, and the depth of my sadness is okay as well.  It doesn’t make me weird.

I’ve learned that animals feel sadness too…both from their own hearts as well as their owners’.

I’m learning that the process of healing is a slow one and different for everyone…be it human or animal.

Through it all, God is the healer, and all of us will depend on His strength and wisdom to get us through those sad moments.

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