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Grieving dogs keep vigil waiting for deceased Dad's return. Mom's plea for help broke our hearts.

Dogsarefamily_thumb By Dogs Are Family | January 19, 2014 | Comments (3)

Three weeks ago, Winnie Green's husband passed away suddenly in his sleep at the age of 52. Winnie told DogHeirs that their beloved dogs, Percy and Patty, are having an extremely difficult time with their loss. 

Percy and Patty were devoted to their dad and since the day he passed, they have been keeping vigil for him at the front door, waiting for him to come home.

How to help a dog grieve the loss of their human dad

"They were closest to him. Percy played with my husband every night be for dinner. It was 'ruff' play. Not like I would play," Winnie shared with DogHeirs. "Patty slept with my husband by his back; Percy slept at the foot of my husband's bed. Both are a 'man's dog'. He was 'play' and I was 'cuddles'."

How to help a dog grieve the loss of their human dad

The dogs are behaving more and more distressed and Winnie is concerned for her fur babies well being and is hoping to receive some advice from the DogHeirs community.

"I was wondering if you know what I can do to help my two dogs, my husband passed away and they are a mess. I have heard of dogs mourning but I had never seen it until now," she said. "They wait for him at the door and when it does not happen, one just lays there with her tail between her legs and ears down. This past weekend they have started to poop in front of the door. It's hard to get mad at them. I just don't know what might work for them."

Winnie's plea for help broke our hearts and we are sharing Winnie, Percy and Patty's story with you with the hope that you will share your experiences and thoughts on how to help dogs overcome their grief when they lose their human. 

Have your dogs ever been heartbroken over the loss of a friend? What did you do to help them? Do you have any advice to share with Winnie about how best to help Percy and Patty?

Copyright 2015 DogHeirs. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments on this Article

Take an article of clothing of your husbands and his pillows and put them by the door. The scent will comfort them. Be patient and kind. The pooping is stress related.. leave the clothes etc by the door. Gradually move them a few inches away as you build a bond with them. As for rough housing.. buy a thick pair of gloves. I use them all the time with my furbabies. If you would feel better you can sleep by the door with the pups as well. Mix your scent with hubbies. Gradually they will be ok if you are ok.. They can feel your stress so you need to get some rest also.
I'm very sorry for your loss Winnie. It says in the article that your husband played rougher than you with the dogs. It also says it was part of their routine to wait a t the door, play before dinner, and sleep on the bed with your husband. Dogs will grieve much like humans but there are some differences. I'm sure that the dogs miss your husband very much but they may also be missing the comfort and stability of their perceived pack leader. You said that your husband played rough with dogs but you were softer and more loving. Dogs can perceive the rougher play as dominant and the softer play as weakness. I'm not a professional and I can only give you my personal experience with dogs, but I think that you should try taking your dogs on separate walks. While on your walks, if you haven't already, try simple training techniques like heel, sit, stay to establish dominance. This will comfort your dogs into knowing that they have a pack leader and they are safe. Try to do the same by establishing a routine with play, sleeping and eating habits. Remember that one day things will get better so be patient. You have my heartfelt condolences for the loss of your husband Winnie.
Hello! I am so terribly sorry about the loss of your husband. I am a professional dog trainer, and owner of Shephard's Dog Training (ShephardsDogTraining.com). When a loved one passes, dogs react and grieve in varying ways just as people do- and if he was the person the dogs are closest to, they will certainly take some time to get through it. The best advice I can give you, is to spend some very special quality time with those dogs to build a stronger bond. I recommend finding an activity that they enjoy most- and perhaps spending that time with each dog individually. For example, if the weather is bad, take one of the dogs with you to the pet store to get out and just walk around together. If the weather is nice, take the dog to the park and just enjoy some time alone. Agility is a great activity- but I see they are little and perhaps they wouldn't enjoy it as much- though I do see lots of little dogs who do love it! Bring some special, delicious treats along with you and spoil them with attention and rewards. In the house, the family members or even visiting friends can spread out around the house and take turns calling the dogs to them and giving them a great treat when they come to them. Just like with people, these dogs need distractions and other activities to get through this. I hope this helps ;) I am happy to offer more help or ideas if needed!
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