Can Human Ways Help Grieving Pets With Depression?
Written by: Pia
Pets With Depression
For us humans, it is so mentally tough when a close family member passes away. We easily get depressed and are sad because we miss the family member. Memories and the loss impacts us a hard for a long time and will influence us somehow the rest of our lives.
However, we have the ability to think, reason and influence our lives in a positive direction with our thoughts and actions and we normally in the end manage to find new and good times.
This is a luxury that our pets may not have.
Here is why I have come to think about this:
Three weeks ago our cat "Espresso" was viciously killed by unknown predator animals right outside our sliding doors to the patio. The only witness was our dog "Bella Latte". She observed everything from inside behind the sliding doors and intensely barked for 1- 1 1/2 minutes.
The silence by the time I arrived felt wrong and I knew something terrible had happened. That was confirmed when I went outside to find the remains of our lovable cat on the ground.
Bella Latte is now in a deep depression as Espresso was her best and every day partner.
The first days following Espresso’s death, Bella Latte kept sniffing everywhere outside where Espresso usually walked around. She would also look all the familiar places inside. Has even been waiting different places as if he will be coming back soon.
Also Bella listens constantly for little sounds and reacts to the sound from other cats in the area at night-time. She is evidently hoping it is her partner re-appearing.
I have no idea what Bella Latte understands about what she actually witnessed.
But I feel sure that she somehow, in spite of it all, expects her partner to come back. Somehow it feels wrong to her that he is not there and she is confused about this.
As a result I have these days difficulties getting her to go with me to the forest where she normally loves to go every day. I have to coax her and call her many times before she will even move to go anywhere. She then goes a little stretch, looks at me and turns around. Finally she starts towards home again looking at me as if she wants to ask something.
When we get to the forest she is happy for a while, but soon wants to hurry home again. She runs unusually fast in front of me to get back. When we get home she runs around looking, then she lies down with a sigh. We can't get her to budge after that.
I think she is scared of what can happen now because our cat Espresso was a sign of stability for Bella Latte. He was always there when we were away, and we travel often.
Evidently she has not accepted or understood that her partner is not coming back.
Maybe a new cat or dog as a friend could help?
I have dismissed that option because I find it too early and maybe not the right solution at this moment. I don’t think it’s the right time to bring in a new pet to the family.
Other ways to keep a mourning dog active?
I try to play new games with her, walk her more, which is hard as I always walk her a lot. The usual games are not fun for her right now, so I am beginning to think more creatively.
What would I do for somebody I know well and who has experienced a deep personal loss?
Maybe it sounds weird to you, but maybe I can help Bella like I would help a human with deep sadness and grief.
I talk to her and hope she understands my intentions. So I am now starting to give her "jobs" to do so she can think about something else.
I’m trying to teach her to pick up a stick made of wood that she can easily grab with her mouth. I am teaching her to pick it up, walk with it and bring it to me when I call for the “newspaper” as I refer to it.
She is so proud doing this with me, so I will think of more games to play with her.
Maybe you have a suggestion how human ways can help grieving pets with depression. So please feel free to comment or ask questions in the comment box right underneath this article.