So tonight I am able to take time to have a chat with our dog Tilly. @mikmaqpeek and I think she may be distressed since we euthanized our housecat last Friday.
Yesterday, we found Tilly hiding and shaking in the dark in the walk-in shower. We'll keep a close eye. If anyone has had experience with a dog "grieving," I would welcome to learn of your experience. It's not like I can just ask her what's wrong. But I can watch, listen closely, and "see" what she has to say in her doggy way. #DogsOfMastodon
@HLGEM We have spoken with the vet. If Tilly is stressed over the weekend, we'll set up an appointment to see if an anti-anxiety prescription is right for her. It is distressing to see her appear cowering in fear while uncomfortable in the dark. Well put a mat in there if she won't come out, though she appears fine now. And I plan to sleep on the floor with her if she seems to want me to. No work tomorrow. Thank you for your response. I treasure the times when she has this short pant breathing like she's laughing at me, then runs and "challenges" me for a treat!
>"If anyone has had experience with a dog "grieving," I would welcome to learn of your experience."
She may not even know that Freddy is dead or understand what death is. She may just be concerned that Freddy is missing, not knowing where he is.
When you talk to Tilly, you may want to have one of Freddy's toys or favorite blanket or whatever to show her so she knows who are talking about while you are reassuring her and to show her that you understand that Freddy is gone. (She probably knows his name, but having something visual will help because animals rely a lot on nonverbal cues.)
Taking time out to do something fun to distract her will probably help too, to give her a break so she is not constantly stressing out.
@mikmaqpeek is playing with Tilly's "baby," a stuffed toy. Playing tug, growling at her, throwing it, and Tilly is having a blast! She's bouncing, doing her "laughing" pant, growling back as she tugs the toy, then running away while watching for the toy to be thrown. gets the toy, chews a bit, then tries to get it tugged some more.
I'm watching Mik try to steal the toy again for more tug. This has me feeling so much better, but we'll see tonight as we sleep.
Part of our bedtime routine is for Mik to sit in her chair while I rub her feet, we listen to a story together (currently Dragon's Time, Pern). With Freddy on one side, Tilly would lay on the other side of Mik's lap and "listen." Tilly hasn't done that for a few days, so we'll see how tonight goes.
Thank you for your response.
It took a while, but Tilly finally decided to join us for story time with @mikmaqpeek. This helps my own concern for our dog. I'm still ready for tonight if it seems Tilly needs me to be near to comfort her. Spoiled so rotten, Tilly smells bad. But I love her so, and I ache that she would be so distressed!
I did try talking with Tilly on the floor. I go to sleep earlier. I have to be at work by 5 am (aka OH MY GOD IT'S DARK OUTSIDE!). Tilly refused to go to bed with @mikmaqpeek in any of the usual spots: between us in the people bed, a pillow on Mik's side as a sleeping bag, a cat bed nearby with a cover, or the closet where Freddy slept in a basket with Mik's Freddy-scented jacket. Instead, Tilly dug on the carpet. As mentioned, this is unusual behavior for her and may be displacement behavior.
When I went to the floor to "talk" with Tilly, she kept staring at her tail, always in the same position after she moved, as if embarrassed to look at me. We will take a look in the morning, and a vet visit will check health issues as we discuss anxiety meds for her. Tilly accepted scritches, but no cuddles. Mik put the blanket over me to sleep on the floor, but then Tilly began to "nest" on the blanket. She refused to crawl into it, instead focused on nesting. No cuddles.
Tilly kept this up until persuaded to go into bed with Mik while I was on the floor. I cautiously tried to come to bed too, but Tilly would have none of that. She went back down to the blanket to sit and stare into the distance. Eventually she laid down, as seen in the photo. I think she dug her way into the blanket, but I'm not going to disturb her just yet. All I would do is lay on the floor and offer gentle skritches if she's there or where I can reach her.
We have a queen bed, but my guess is Tilly finds it too small for the three of us. She used to complain from Frisco (Freddy's buddy housecat) stomping all over her (and us) without a care. So Mik and I will keep watch, offering love without being pushy, watch for "bum" issues or licking, butt dragging behavior, but we don't think that's it. Be there, provide comfort if she's cowering, and get the vet appointment. Best we can do. #DogsOfMastodon
Tilly had a pile of blankets next to the bed on my side. While I was asleep, I don't think there was digging. She seemed to nest inside the blankets and went to sleep. As a "guess" I think she was telling us she wanted to bed on my side rather than in the pillow/ pillowcase "sleeping bag" she had on my wife's side. My side is more open and closer to the door, so it isn't necessarily "me" but the strategic position. That would explain the digging. She was trying to "nest" in carpet that doesn't do "nesting."
When I woke up, she didn't stir but sometime in the morning she came out to be with me. She's currently in an "ottoman" which serves as a small pet bed. We have a blanket over the top both to keep the inside warm and for her "privacy." She can peek out, but we can't see in. At the moment, she's there.
Listening to a dog is *NOT* "Dr. Doolittle." It takes time to grasp and even now I'm not clear what she's telling us. But it's rewarding of its own right to put the pieces together and hear her "voice" by actions and context.
I'd prefer we *not* have to use anti-anxiety meds. I'm not morally opposed to them, but a) all medical interventions have some consequences and risks... that's life. And b) If we can alleviate the distress, THAT is the problem to be solved, not some 'magic' pill that does not require effort on our part.
So here we are, and thank you for your interaction.
QOTO: Question Others to Teach Ourselves
An inclusive, Academic Freedom, instance
All cultures welcome.
Hate speech and harassment strictly forbidden.
Dogs definitely grieve (so do cats, Matty Catty was quite upset when her friend Chico died.)
Chico had been bonded to his brother (so much so that the SPCA wouldn't separate them) and he was somewhat lost when Spike died. He ended up becoming much more attached to the people in the house.
Your dear Tilly probably just needs you to pay extra attention and give her as much love as she will accept. She's a beauty, BTW. A new cat friend might be in order.
If she keeps finding dark places to shake in (and little dogs have plenty of dark places they can access), you might consult with your vet just to make sure nothing physical is wrong and maybe to give her something to reduce her anxiety.