Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Leader Of The Pack

I wasnt going to blog about dogs again today but the subject seems to have reared its head again
tomorrow's  post, I have promised myself WILL be about something different.....thank you for all of your comments, I have read each one with affection..indeed ....there were so many that blogger could not publish them all in one go!

There are stories aplenty that document the grieving of dogs for other dogs. We have lost four dogs in total, dogs that were clearly part of a pack, but I am yet to see any behaviour in any of the survivors which would make me think that grief was present. Sure the pecking order often changes, and I have seen minor squabbles erupt when power struggles start, but I have never seen a Greyfriers Bobby moment , even though I have perhaps wished for one.
William, was the dog that seemed closest to Meg. They would always lie together and play together and apart from sniffing meg's body briefly after I had laid her down on the floor on Monday morning , he has carried on as normal. Winnie , as I expected , didn't raise an eyebrow over the situation. Meg hated her and Winnie coped with that fact with bored alacrity. So that subtle bitch/ bitch tension has now disappeared from the cottage.
George's reaction, however has surprised me.
For it was George who sat down alongside Meg's body as she lay in the kitchen. It was George who watched carefully as I lay Meg into her grave between the rose bushes in the front garden and It was George who I caught sitting on the Meg's grave this morning after he had taken himself off into the garden as I did the washing up.
Could it be a canine awareness that Meg was around? .......Who knows.
Perhaps it's just familiar smells in disturbed earth that has attracted him
I am not a fan of giving human emotions to animals.
But his behaviour made me stop for a moment, tea towel in hand

George at the bottom of the garden

60 comments:

  1. If a close animal companion of a dead pet gets to look at and sniff the body of its old mate, they adjust much more easily to the situation. It's when they just disappear without explanation that confused grief sets in. You did the right thing.

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  2. I think animals do miss an absent companion and it does affect their mood. Whether or not you would call this grief I don't know.
    A friend has two cats, a mother and son. The mother has gone missing and the son spends a lot of time apparently apparently calling and searching for her. It's sad to watch but it's hard to know if dogs and cats experience grief. They certainly demonstrate fear and joy at times.

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  3. I'm sure the others miss Meg in their own way. It made me think of a programme I saw about elephants who when passing through elephant graveyards and see the decayed skeletons of long deceased elephants will usually stop, touch, smell and hesitate

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    1. Trying to understand animals is hard....its like trying to understand autism in children

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  4. georgie misses meg as much as you do.

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  5. What a lovely place you have given Meg for her final resting and what a dear companion she has to watch over her.

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  6. As George was witness to Meg's burial unlike the other dogs, maybe he remember's that is where she was buried? Could he be waiting for his playmate to return? Or maybe he is just intrigued with newly disturbed earth? From my experience pets (unlike their owners) get over the death of a fellow pet fairly quickly. Years ago I had two tabby cats that would wash each other and sleep entwined. When I had to have one put to sleep the other one seemed happy that all the attention was now focused on her. I believe animals live in the moment John - do you? x

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    1. And only in the moment simone

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  7. lovely
    new post:http://melodyjacob1.blogspot.com/2015/07/blue-eyes-pink-lips.html

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. Ah - bless George. Given the strength of a dog's nose, he can probably get a whiff of Meg.

    That was a wonderful spot you chose to lay Meg to rest...

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  10. My apologies for deleting my first comment. I had offered a personal anecdote from observing the behaviour of my own dogs. I think it's very likely George is missing Meg and is revisiting the place where he last saw her. Such a sweet and loyal companion!

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  11. Isn't it helpful in the healing process to have her close by. She is laid to rest in a beautiful spot and so she should be. Bless little George.

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  12. When I see mom dogs and cat moms get very upset when the little ones go one by one I believe there is grieving among animals...after all we all have hearts and understanding. Beautiful resting place.

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  13. I came down one morning and found a dead cat on the kitchen floor, one of five I had at the time. The others had to step over the body to get to their breakfast which they did without so much as a sniff or a second glance. I fed them and then cleared up Fluffy.

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    1. You NEVER had a cat called fluffy! NEVER EVER

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    2. Oh yes I did. I loved her. She was my favourite at the time.

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    3. I was pack leader, same as now!

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  14. " It was George who I caught sitting on the Meg's grave this morning"

    How sweet, and sad. Who says animals are 'just' animals?

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  15. Dogs have a super keen sense of smell, they may see in black and white but what they smell gives color to their world. George is no doubt sensing a familiar hue that time and weather will fade.

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  16. Sweet, for any reason. Whatever George is up to, I suspect a benign universe is using it to help your own healing deep down. May you we well.

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  17. I would like to think he is communicating with her in the spirit realm. He may have been very attached to her in his own way. That is a lovely spot in your garden amongst the roses for a special little dog named Meg.

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  18. I have seen and heard of too many instances of animals grieving for another to think that it is not a common thing. Often it is so subtle we clumsy humans don't see it but it is there. My pup came into our home at 3 months of age and my cat was already old. The cat just shuffled around but appreciated the fact that there was a warm body in a crate in the kitchen at night. They bonded fast and forever.
    When that old cat died, Pup never stopped checking for him around his favorite spots and if you said the word Cat ... he would jump up and go look. I like to think as a child would think, the cat was waiting when Pup died and they are playing around together again.

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  19. It will take time for all involved,

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  20. I read with interest everyone's comments. I had a question though for you John, will a new leader of the pack take over and if so who?

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    1. William has always been leader after me gill. Meg was always second in command even though she sat in front of the others in the car.

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  21. Aw, I love little George :-)

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  22. It's probably just me, but I would rather have one George than ten Winnies.

    Good thing she has you to look after her unique needs.

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  23. I do think animals grieve; we just may not realize it. JoJo stopped eating and drinking for two days once she realized Grace was gone.

    Sparky, a barn cat who followed us home and bonded with Grace in very short order, was hit by a car. Grace watched me bury her, and we were both quite sad and still. Grace never walked on Sparky's grave, which was just before the tree line. She and Sparky both had often walked along its edge, but after Sparky's burial, Grace would walk the edge until Sparky's grave. At Sparky's grave, she'd walk around it.

    I was cleaning out my bedroom closet about a year after Sparky died, and I had come across some hats at the top of the shelf i'd forgotten about. I put them on top of the bed. Grace was lying on the bed, and one of the hats had been pushed down, so I knew that Sparky, who had been a jumper, must have climbed up the shelf at some point and take in the view.

    Grace's nose started twitching, and she walked over to the smooshed hat, breathed in deeply, and her eyes dilated. She sat by the hat and looked quite sad and still, much the way she did the day I buried Sparky. I kept the hat until Grace lost interest in it.

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  24. They know., Don't be fooled.

    Blessings.

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  25. We had two boxers, one old and one young. The young one was about three, had been part of our family for about a year, was a rescue, when the old one died. the young one grieved so terribly we thought he was going to die. he did eventually come out of it but her grieved for months and lost so much weight.

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  26. No matter how many times we have had to say goodbye it never gets easier. I think you handled it well for the others to see that she was gone and allow them to sniff her body. That is when it really sets in for them, and interesting to see how they all react differently.

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  27. I agree with Doc about letting the others see Meg's body - I think they more or less take death in their stride, but nevertheless, it is interesting how George sits by Meg's grave. Makes you wonder what goes on in his mind doesn't it?

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    1. George is a thinker
      Being the lowest in the pecking order, he has always needed to be careful and chooses his options carefully.

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  28. I wonder if, rather than grieving for Meg, George is somehow looking after you? Perhaps you were gazing at Meg's beautiful burial place and musing whilst doing the washing up, which is why George went and sat there. Similarly he knew what you were up to when you were burying her. Call it picking up on body language, or simply being in tune with you. Anyway, he will be a comfort to you hopefully.

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  29. I had 2 Border Collies - Bess and her son, Todd. They were always together from the day she had her litter; he needed no training as he took his cue from his mum, walked to heel between me and Bess and generally reacted to commands in the same way as his mum. She was definitely the boss and he always left a little food in his bowl for her to clear up. (In truth, she gobbled her food in seconds then stood staring at him from close quarters while he ate at a much slower pace.) Poor Todd, he was probably too scared to eat all of it!
    When she had to be put to sleep, I thought he would pine dreadfully - but no! He simply came into his own; his confidence grew, he was more relaxed and became a wonderful, affectionate and well-behaved dog. No mourning or grieving for Toddy-Dog.

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    1. I think the trick is to be pack leader yourself
      Then the pack generally has stability when one dies

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    2. That'll be me then.....my husband has to do as he's told as well....so as not to confuse the dogs....obviously....

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  30. We made sure that Bok saw Monty's body before he was buried. Since then he has showed no sign of 'grief', and has never responded to his name. All very odd, as they were so close.

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    1. I think my previous comment reply stands cro...if you , ypurself are pack leader then the surviving dog has stability

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  31. This is the first time that I've had two dogs at the same time, so I can't tell you for sure. I have seen dogs on the side of the road though where one was dead and the other stayed alongside. I know my cat grieved for the old cat when she died.
    Aw, poor George, sending sympathies for all of you.

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  32. awwwww George the steadfast one. Always last in everything and understanding his place in the pack. But always with a heart of gold.
    I find my Scotties are very attuned to the world. Especially Watson.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Gayle...me thinks you have summed him up very well

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  33. I've only ever had two dogs once in my life and I saw no sign of grief when one went. George seems like a sensitive soul which i think is rather nice.

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    1. Craig he'sa funny self contained little soul

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  34. I think animals do grieve. I think they feel more than we give them credit for. I used to have a cat called Bipper. He could sense when I was sad, stressed and acted accordingly to give me love and attention. He could also tell when I didn't have my coffee in the morning and would tread lightly:)

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  35. We've had similar reactions from our dogs when others have passed. My only conclusion is, is that like people, they are affected differently, and some seem to have a clearer understanding of what has happened, just like people. And I do think that it has something to do with their "connection" to one another. I have seen what I am sure is mourning from our dogs when they've lost a pack mate, others just seem to carry on and wonder what the fuss is about....

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  36. Pardon my prejudice, but I think Scotties are pretty far up the evolutionary ladder. Everyone else noticed the shift and shifted, one step closer to the leader of the pack. Scotties, however, are wise, and know why there was a little two step.

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  37. I think he knows, and it helps to be close by.
    What a lovely resting place where sweet Meg is laid.
    ~Jo

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  38. Your 'Greyfriar's Bobby' moment. I love George. x

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  39. George is my favourite. I just love him. He looks like a teddy on the side bar laying on his back. So cute.

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  40. We adopted two rescue cat brothers. One became ill within the year and died after another year of care. The one left behind was given a chance to sniff the body before we removed it. He missed his brother for months; he'd look at us, nose around the house, come to us to be caressed in a way he had not done before. We finally got another rescue cat and they took to each other well. He still needs a bit of human attention but not like before. He is, by the way, a very intelligent and gentle cat, not your typical battleaxe tom, no territorial displays whatsoever. I think cats are as different from each other as humans are. And from your writing, I would say it's true for dogs as well. May George's quiet awareness help heal your heart.

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    1. Seewhat he didin tne next post x

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  41. Year ago we had Becky the German Shepard and Beanie , an Italian greyhound . Becky old and frail had been on her last journey to the vet . When we returned from the vets I went inside and was in the bedroom with Beanie . As my husband got Becky's body out of the car he and the body walked past the bedroom on the way to the backyard . Beanie was with me in the bedroom and as Geoff walked past the bedroom outside with the body of Becky , Beanie howled long and loud . She had not been to the vets or saw the body . I had also never heard Beanie howl. It was odd as she did not know that Becky had been put down, nor could she see outside the bedroom .
    Thinking of you and Chris and your beautiful pack . Ps I live in a house full of boys including the dogs , I still say I am the dominant bitch!!!!!

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    1. That must be why I relate to you do well ....

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  42. sorry , sounds weird " he and the body walked past " . I meant Geoff carried the body ......

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  43. Interesting! I wonder what's going on there. I do think dogs live very much "in the moment" but who knows what kind of awareness they may have...

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