Our dogs bring us such unconditional love every day. They are the light on a dark day; they are the joy in our sorrow; they are the giggles when we can’t find anything to laugh at. We always know that one day they will no longer be with us in the physical. When that day comes, regardless of how much we think we have prepared, we aren’t ready…how can we be? I recently lost Carling, my female great dane. She was an amazing 12 years old!
As heart breaking as losing Carling has been, watching Guinness, my male dane grieve has been just as hard. Dog grief is a real thing and I want everyone to be aware of it. I think we underestimate how much the other members of the pack feel when we lose one. He was able to see Carling after she passed to begin processing why she was no longer at home with him. But if you go through this with your dog, remember a few things:
- Give them time to grieve
- Try to keep a regular schedule and structure
- Give them the attention they are asking for, or the quiet time they are asking for
- Get them out and exercise. Stimulate and bond with them
- Be there to create new memories going forward
Those of you that know me well, know that Carling is the reason I became a dog trainer. I felt such a connection with her and was amazed at how much a dog could learn that I wanted to help others to have that same bond. She was my daily motivation when I went back to school and then started my training business. She is the lead dog in my logo, and because of that, she will always live on through my business. As a dear friend said after she passed, “Think about everyone that girl opened the door to for you”. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I have met and worked with some amazing families and their dogs. I am so blessed because of her.