Do Surviving Pets Grieve? Even Party Marty Has a Sensitivity Chip!
Party Marty here: I know you rely upon me for that weekly element of comic relief. You realize that I am a never-ending vessel of giggles and chuckles as well as those gut busting, side splitting, “please administer me some oxygen now” kind of moments. But this week I am sad. My head hangs low. I am feeling rather unmotivated. Since the passing of our beloved dog Jessie several days ago, I have felt an emptiness I did not expect. I know…I know…she was frequently the butt of my jokes and the bane of my existence…but I really only mocked her because I loved her. It was all friendly fire, so to speak. She was my buddy, and even though we did not always see eye-to-eye…sometimes literally fighting like cats and dogs…she was my roommate, my friend and my occasional partner in crime.
When you have more than one pet, how do you comfort the surviving pet when another pet dies? What should you expect from that surviving pet after the death of another pet?
Sometimes, the surviving pet may express what humans would call grief. He may temporarily change dispositions. For example, if he was naturally outgoing and friendly, he may become withdrawn and shy…. and vice versa. He may demand extra attention from you, and that is fine, but don’t over do it as if to suggest you are rewarding him for his grief.
Talk to him. While he may not understand what you are saying, he will pick up on your emotions. Tell him you are sorry and that you feel sad, too. It’s okay to engage in extra cuddling time, too. Just like humans, pets can grieve, as well, but in their own way. Give them time.
However, if you notice any long-term affects associated with this grief, such as extended loss of appetite, lethargy, acting out, etc., please communicate your concerns with your veterinarian.
Yes, I am missing Jessie terribly and so is our human, Karen. We both know, however, that she is in the spirit realm with Bo, our beloved cat, and that one day we will all be together again. Sometimes, it’s one’s own faith that sustains them through these difficult times. You just gotta do what you gotta do to get through, right? Thanks for your understanding.