All About Marie

Animal Files columnist of the Orange County Register from 1992-2016; Emmy Award winning producer of Educational Television Programming; Host of "The Pet Place Radio Show" heard world-wide at; click the player below to listen. Producer/Director/Editor/Co-host of "The Pet Place TV Show" during the 19 years it ran on KDOC TV in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; Wife, Mother of five kids, Grandmother of two baby boys and one baby girl, and pet parent of two cats, one dog, many fish, and a cockatoo.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Grieving Dog

Dear Marie, I just lost one of my sweet dogs. She died last week. I have three remaining dogs. The two younger ones have paired off. However, the older one is grieving. She and the one that died were buddies. I am wondering what I can do for her to make it easier for her. Should I adopt another dog that is close to her age?

Dear Debbie,
As you have seen, pets grieve just as deeply as humans, especially where there has been a close bond. What your little dog needs more than anything is your love and support. If there is any way you can spend more time with her, it will help considerably. Take her on extra walks if she is up for it. Offer her some special treats too. Keep her busy and involved in life. Let her know that there are many things to look forward to with you and other family members.

When you can’t be with her, leave the radio on. Get her a dog-safe plush toy to snuggle with. Adopting a dog in her age range might help, however there is no guarantee that the two of them will hit it off.  Sometimes a new addition only serves to aggravate the situation. She already knows and loves you and looks to you for comfort. Your touch and voice are probably all she needs.

I have heard it suggested that you should just let a grieving dog alone. I couldn't disagree more. Dogs that have had a close relationship with another dog that has died may fall into deep depression. Without intervention and support, it is not uncommon to hear how the remaining dog dies within a short time of its partner due to a broken heart, or more scientifically, the physical shutdown that occurs as a result of depression. This scenario can be avoided. It will take some time, but with your added attention, her heart will mend.

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