from Modesto, Calif., has been recently saddened by the
loss of her dog, Fanny, a 12-year-old golden retriever.
Fanny had a form of cancer called lymphosarcoma, and
after eight months of treatment and a good quality of
life, Fanny had a recurrence of her cancer and Allison
elected to let her go.
has another dog named Cali, a mixed breed that, since
Fannyís passing, is acting very depressed. She is not
eating much, doesnít want to go for her walks,
something she previously loved, and spends most of her
time wandering around or lying around the house.
are times when Allison could swear Cali was searching
the house for Fanny. She wonders if Cali is truly
depressed at the loss of Fanny or should she be
concerned that Cali might be ill.
is no definitive study of depression in dogs to my
knowledge; in fact I am not aware of depression being a
clinical entity at all in our canine companions. Having
said this, I can tell you that I, without a doubt,
believe that dogs grieve with the loss of a close
it is a person or another companion, dogs can develop
close bonds and when severed, these dogs are saddened.
has been my experience over the years that when a dog
loses its caretaker it will become visibly depressed.
Please understand I am not using the term depressed in
its psychological context. I simply refer to the actions
of these dogs when a caretaker is lost.
often times stop eating and will cease all or most
normal activity. They may become reclusive and avoid
interaction with others, instead spending most of their
time in relative seclusion.
Caliís case I would certainly consider her change in
behavior as possibly, even likely, being caused by the
loss of Fanny.
though this is a strong possibility for Caliís state,
I would not want to make this assumption and by doing so
miss another possible problem. Cali should see her
veterinarian to rule out any other possible causes for
silver lining around the dark cloud of grief in dogs is
that they seem to rebound fairly quickly. Within a
month, these grieving companions often will be back to
their normal routines.
realize it may sound as if I am anthropomorphizing a bit
here, but I truly believe that our companions are
emotional creatures and in the human sense, do feel to
some degree, the emotions we feel. They can be hurt in
the emotional sense and they can and do grieve the loss
of a companion be it a human or otherwise.