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Death of a companion

By: Dr. Jon Rappaport

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Our question this week was:

I recently lost one of my two dachshunds. The one I lost was the male. Oscar was 9 years old. He was run over. Lulu is 8 and has been with Oscar all her life. She doesn't know what happened to him. Only that one day he was here and the next gone and hasn't come back. I'm sure she's depressed or going through mourning right now and this has been going on 3 weeks now. My question is should I get her another companion or will she get used to be the only pet?

Cathy Caldwell


Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. I'm sure it is confusing for Lulu to have a companion her whole life and now see him gone.

This is an interesting topic and I've strived over the years to understand how and if dogs grieve. Dogs are different from us and I believe that they do grieve and mourn the loss of a friend. I'm not sure they are sad so much as they long for the company and routine of their past.

In some ways, it may not be dissimilar to any routine that they have and love, and it no longer exists, they miss it.

As far as if you should get another companion for her...that's a tough one. Some dogs really like having another dog in their lives and others prefer to be "alone". If you do get another dog, consider if you think she would prefer a puppy or an adult. On one hand, a puppy may be less threatening and she can be "boss" but a puppy may be annoying is she doesn't want to play.

An article that might find interesting my site Petplace.com is Dogs in Grief. It discusses how dogs feel and some things you can do to help.

Good luck,


Dr. Jon




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