Katie’s Ark: Healing Grieving Hearts
A few years ago, my sister asked me to check in on her German Shepherd, as she seemed to be ill. The first thing that she blurted out was, “I REALLY miss Rosie!” Rosie was another dog in their home, who had passed away 6 months or so prior. We were surprised to hear that because they were not companions and didn’t even act like they liked each other, and yet, there it was. She was in pain, from arthritis and in deep grief that had not been acknowledged. Her physical needs were addressed, as well as her emotional ones. The family went out of their way to talk more to her, cuddle with her, and overall make note of her feelings.
Dogs and cats grieve, sometimes deeply. They can get lost in the shuffle of our own grief. How then, can we help then? By acknowledging their pain, giving them a decent amount of undivided attention and talking to them. Be patient, and don’t be upset if they are not in the mood to play with the toy or run at the park. They will perk up, but it may take some time.
I have been consulted to visit with many animals over the years about bringing in a new companion. I love that. It is the right thing to do, especially after a death. Just because you are ready for new, adorable kitten doesn’t mean that the other animals in your house are. It pays off to find out if they are ready, and let them chime in on who they would like to bring in.
What to expect this week-
The first part of the week will likely result in some clingy behavior. Don’t be surprised if your dog won’t get off of your lap or your cat insists on sleeping on your head. They are feeling the need to be VERY close to you right now. That should get better later in the week. If you are working on training or behavior modification, you should see some breakthroughs this weekend.