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Our adored elder dog has just been pts. How can we help her sister?

(6 Posts)
tornbluestocking Sun 20-Jul-14 19:47:48

Hi All, I'm a first time poster but long-time lurker and would be grateful for any advice you wise people can give.

We rescued two 5 year old Labradors from a centre 3 years' ago and they have become a huge part of our lives. They are/were litter sisters and both were originally very disturbed and reactive towards other dogs but have come on fabulously. Unfortunately the elder and more confident of the two became seriously ill last week and, despite fabulous vetinary care, we had to make the very difficult decision to have her pts yesterday. We're devastated, though very grateful we still have her lovely sister. Can anyone advise on how we can help her sister through this please? Fortunately, we have always given them at least one walk a day apart from their sister, on the advice of trainers (as they were so closely bonded), so she has seemed ok with walking with just us over the past 24 hours. She's also used to sleeping on our bed at night, so again no huge change there fortunately. The worst thing is that I work mornings and I'm concerned as to how she will cope on her own; she's such a nervy little thing and was so close to her sister. I used to come back from work to find them cuddled up together in one of their dog beds.

She doesn't seem to be particularly upset or confused at the moment but what should I be looking for and how can we help her? Apologies for the long post but thanks for reading.

Aked Mon 21-Jul-14 09:24:35

So sorry for your loss, it is heartbreaking to lose a petsad

I think you just need to give her loads of love, cuddles and fuss. Some dogs do seem to grieve, go off their food and generally seem depressed. So long as she is eating, and generally seems happy. Probably the fact that she has had to be walked by herself every day then this will help a lot.

Regarding leaving her on her own, it might help to leave her with lots to do, biscuit balls, frozen kongs etc. As she is a labrador I presume she is food orientated? May be worth leaving something to record what goes on when you are out, to judge whether you need to keep on top of separation anxiety should it start to show. There will probably be someone with further advice on coping with this, or preventing it, which would be preferable.

Hugs to you all, I hope she copes with it all. And look after yourselvessmile x

tornbluestocking Mon 21-Jul-14 15:17:17

Many thanks for your good advice and kind wishes, Aked. I hadn't thought of monitoring her while we are out but that seems very sensible, will get my tech-savvy partner onto that this evening. We'll shuffle things so that one or other of us is working from home every day this week to try and make it easier for her but next week will have to be back to the normal routine.

Yes, she's very food orientated so we've kept back some of her kibble and we're playing lots of games with it. Her appetite hasn't diminished at all but she's very mopey in between and, when I came back from work at lunchtime (having left her with my partner this morning), she came bounding into the kitchen and hunted everywhere for her sister, which was heartbreaking. I don't suppose it helps her that I keep bursting into tears. Not surprisingly, they never warn you how difficult it is to lose them when you adopt a dog!

MitchellMummy Mon 21-Jul-14 15:22:50

So very sorry. We've tried Ignatia when it's happened to us. Not sure if it worked, or if it was time that healed, but within a couple of weeks all was back to normal. Good luck, it's heartbreaking. x

3littlewomen Mon 21-Jul-14 15:53:30

Dear Stocking,

So sorry to hear about the loss of your much loved pet.

Can I ask if your dog got to see her sister after death. We have always found it has always helped our pets to be allowed sniff and generally spend time with their deceased pals. Our old boxer lost her feline best friend last year and spent a few hours just sat with him. I think it helped her understand he was gone.

Not sure if this could be arranged, or if it would be any help to stop her searching.

Take care all of you as this is so hard on the whole family

tornbluestocking Mon 21-Jul-14 16:52:36

Thank you 3littlewomen. Yes, we kept her with us and cuddled both dogs as the elder one was pts. (It was at the vets and they made it very calm and dignified, so nothing to distress her). We then stayed in the room and said our final goodbyes whilst the vet waited outside so she had a sniff of her sister but wasn't very interested. We left while the body was still warm though, so I don't know if she realised what had happened (the vet told us beforehand that she probably wouldn't understand but saw no problem with letting her be there).

She's plonked herself on my lap as I type (all 30kgs of her!) and seems quite happy now but every so often she seems to remember that something is terribly wrong. Mind you, we feel exactly the same and I suppose we'll get over it eventually (hmmm!) so maybe she will too. If it's just a few weeks, as you suggest, Mummy, then we should be able to help her through that but she seems to still hold on to so many things that went wrong before we had them, so I'm fearful that she won't be able to let go of this in time either. Will look up Ignatia in the meantime, thanks for that tip.

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