Stumbling Towards a New Normal

People always wonder if mother dogs are sad about the babies leaving, and I am not sure we can really know. However, Sparkle is not looking for her missing puppies or in any way showing distress about their absence. I know she cares for and about the puppies -- but I also think a dog's mind handles loss in a different way than ours.

If another dog was a security, perhaps a dog would show anxiety that a human might mistake for grief when the security dog leaves. But in general, I think dogs and children are pretty similar -- they are more impacted by human/adult grief than the loss. This isn't a reflection that love or relationship was absent -- rather, it reflects a different understanding and experience of the loss.

What we label as grief in dogs (and often children) is -- in my view -- more of a reaction to the grief of the tall humans, and the life/routine changes that happen as a result of loss/grief. A dog (or child) is likely to mope in the corner when the tall humans are having a meltdown -- it is scary stuff when you are not quite sure what is going on and/or what to do -- but that moping is not really grief.

The reason this matters is because effective helping requires an accurate understanding of the issue. If we assume it is grief, we will implement the wrong interventions. 

Grief is a hard thing, especially in families where adults need to grieve - and children (and dogs) wish it would just stop. And so I am carrying on as usual, happy that the puppies have exciting new lives even as I dearly miss their sweet small faces.

Normal Life.

Tolman and Belle...

Chrome, Dewey, Tolman...

Those who have visited can tell you about Zimmer's obsession with the knothole in this wood post...

It reminds me of Auggie (H Litter) and the electrical outlet.

What a charming puppy he is!

Belle...

Chrome...

Zoey and Air Puppy...

 

2 comments

by CA Heidi :-) on Thu, 02/16/2017 - 15:45

You sure do it with grace, though.

~H

by Susan Norman on Thu, 02/16/2017 - 17:32

Who is the "air puppy"? Or do they all have it?
Looking forward to SLC puppy party and all those pics too.

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