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Old 08-19-2010, 10:02 AM   #1
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Default A Dog's Grief and Closure

So many people believe that animals do not have feelings or grieve. This post proves them wrong.

Quote:
A visit to his master's grave seems to give closure to a grieving dog
Washington Post, Thursday, August 12, 2010; PG15
Dear Dr. Fox:
Your recent column about how a "dog's devotion to master can lead to the grave" is similar to what occurred with our golden retriever more than 20 years ago, when my husband died at 46 after a four-year battle with cancer. During my husband's illness, Friday lay beside his bed, provided support when my husband walked and never left his side. Friday obviously knew that something was wrong. He was devoted to his master.
Before my husband became ill, he was a senior sports-and-news cameraman for a major TV station. Because of the nature of his assignments, my husband's work hours were unpredictable. Regardless of the hour, Friday always knew when my husband was headed home. He ran to the front door, wagging his tail, and he sat patiently until my husband's car pulled into the driveway.
After my husband's death, which took place in a hospital, Friday sat at the front door all day, every day, whining and waiting for my husband to return. He stopped eating and wouldn't leave the front hallway. He refused to play with our children, whom he loved, because "guard duty" was his only purpose. He left his post only when he needed to be walked. My heart was breaking for this dog.
After one week of watching Friday's vigil, I decided to help him understand what had happened. Hesitantly, Friday left his post and got into the car with me. His car behavior was unusual: He paced from window to window, looking everywhere for my husband. I drove to the cemetery, and we walked together toward my husband's grave. As we got closer, Friday pulled away from me and ran directly to the grave. He lay down atop it, closed his eyes and just stayed there, quietly. I didn't try to talk to Friday or disturb him. He needed to grieve, too. After an hour, Friday got up and walked over to me, using his mouth to hand me his leash. He was ready to go home.
On the way back home, Friday lay quietly in the back seat. After we arrived home, he kept kissing my hands as if to say "thank you," and he never again sat by the front door waiting for my husband to return home. He now understood. Although obviously sad, his behavior returned to normal around the children and he began eating again. In time, he healed, as did we.
L.B.J.
Lake Worth, Fla.
DF: Many readers will join me in thanking you for this remarkable example of giving a dog closure with regard to your husband, whom Friday perhaps thought was still alive. Your devoted dog clearly advances our understanding of how much some dogs know and feel. We should never underestimate their ability to comprehend and make every effort, as you did, during such difficult times of bereavement to help them when they are grieving.
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:01 AM   #2
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This is such a heartbreaking story, yet it makes so much sense. Anyone who has owned and loved a dog knows how devoted they are to their family. They have deep feelings just as we do. Thank you for posting such a beautiful and sad story.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:34 PM   #3
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What a beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for posting.

I once witnessed for myself a very heartbreaking situation. It happened many, many years ago, when the country was really country, near an intersection by our home. I saw a dog at this same intersection for a couple of months. He never left it. He ate and slept there. The community people would come to feed him. We learned over time that this dog was brought to the country and dumped by his owner. I guess the dog thought the owner would be back for him some day. That day never came and the dog was found dead one morning at the intersection. The sad part was that he wouldn't let anyone take him from that spot.

There is no devotion like dog devotion.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:40 PM   #4
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awwww.....what a very sad, but beautiful story! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:03 PM   #5
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what a nice story.
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:13 PM   #6
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What an awesome story. Dogs are such amazing creatures aren't they?
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:37 PM   #7
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now that I stopped crying, i can see to type....thanks for sharing this.
Heartwrenching, yet heartwarming that Friday got closure
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Old 08-19-2010, 06:01 PM   #8
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Dogs are truly underestimated. Cried reading this to myself and then to the boyfriend.
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Old 08-19-2010, 06:39 PM   #9
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thanks for sharing i have been needing a good cry


Pat from south carolina
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 143julz View Post
now that I stopped crying, i can see to type....thanks for sharing this.
Heartwrenching, yet heartwarming that Friday got closure
Ditto. Not much of what is posted on YT brings tears to my eyes. But this did. I can completely see Kaji holding vigil waiting for me to come home if anything were to happen to me. It truly broke my heart.
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:11 PM   #11
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What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it.
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:52 AM   #12
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I loved this story!
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Old 08-21-2010, 01:32 AM   #13
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Wonderful story! Dogs truly are amazing.
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Old 08-21-2010, 01:24 PM   #14
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What an amazing story.

It reminded me of Hachiko. A famous Akita in Japan that went to the train station every day waiting for his owner, who had passed away at work and never got back on the train to come home.

There was a movie about him with Richard Gere, and it was sooo sad.

My little brother was almost 6 when he passed away in 2006, and 'his' dog Carmen was sooo confused at first. She was very sad and definitely grieving just like we were. She truly became a member of the family the day he died, and we took her to the cemetery a few times, and she would just sit there.

Thanks for posting.
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Old 08-21-2010, 04:14 PM   #15
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Ahhh Brit.....thanks so much for sharing your story with us. I am sitting here in tears. I just cannot imagine losing someone that young, and
being that young yourself.
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