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Dogs and "empathy"

2390 Views 32 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  XansArt
I'm not sure this will make any sense, but I will try to explain what I mean....

We lost our oldest, most awesome cat Thomas this morning. It was very sudden (heart failure due to a heart murmur we think), we got up to find him dead and of course we were very upset.

I realised I was unable to go and move him, so hubby called his dad to come and wrap him and move him. While we were waiting I decided I should at least clean up the urine around him. Pixie still hadnt' been out to pee, and despite me walking from the kitchen with paper towards the door to the backyard, she didn't follow me as usual to go outside. She just sat in the kitchen and watched me clean up. She didn't go over to sniff Thomas or anything. It was like she knew I was upset and she knew Thomas was dead and just kept her distance. On walks she always approaches dead animals.

So I did that, then went to my office to let Obi out of the crate to take them both out to pee. As soon as Obi spotted Thomas he ran straight up to him and started sniffing, he was told to leave it and we went outside.

Later on I also noticed that Pixie was staring at me a lot more than usual and seemed to understand that I was upset, while Obi seemed completely oblivious.

Pixie is a poodle x maltese, so typical lapdog, people oriented etc, while Obi is a terrier x. So just curious, and this is where I think I won't make sense, are lapdogs and the typical working breeds like poodles, labs, GSD's etc, more in tune with their humans than the more independent breeds? Like are they more sensitive to it, do they understand human stuff better? I hate to call it "empathy", but if I was going to use that word, do the working breeds and lapdogs have more empathy?

Just for the record, I'm not upset with Obi for not "caring", I never expected them to understand or care and I don't need them to. It was just something I noticed and was curious about.
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Poor Thomas :( I'm sorry for your loss, I woke up when I was 19 to find my childhood dog, sugar dead at the foot of my bed... I had had her since I was 7 yrs old :((. So I can understand how you feel.

When Izze died, josefina's demeanor changed imediately. She was normally an unruly, 'never do the right thing' type, but after her death she became like.... The perfectly behaved dog & although as I 'moved on' somewhat (you never really get over it) she isn't the hellion she use to be.
One day when Izze was still alive I had a particularly bad migraine & went to I went to bed & slept til dark, OH brought the dog in (it was only one dog at the time, Izze). I was asleep but OH said that she went to the side of the bed I usually laid on & I wasn't there she went to the other side of the bed where I was & rested her head on the bed next to my head & OH (who was sitting in the other room eating dinner) was watching & he said she left it there for a long time he said like 5-10 minutes before finally laying down in her 'place' (the rug in front of the TV).

We had a unusual connection that I know will never be again wih another dog bc there was only one Izze :(. But it doesn't mean that I can't form another equally strong (but different connection) with another dog like Buddy, of course it's not the same, he isn't Izze (being the same breed doesn't make him 'like her') but that doesn't mean he doesn't love me or that I don't love him.

I have always been one to offer empathy & understanding (if they had fears of are nervous about something, I think that kind of attitude reflects itself, show a dog empathy & you will be repaid tenfold.
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Here is an excerpt from an article about the subject of 'dog feelings' located at: http://mobile.dudamobile.com/site/d....dogbreedinfo.com/articles/dogsenses.htm#2113

Another example was a time when my husband and I were driving down the road with our two dogs in a van that did not have any windows in the back. The dogs were sleeping on the van floor. Suddenly our Pit Bull stood up and started growling. I was in the passenger seat and didn’t see or hear anything. My husband, on the other hand, was amazed. He had just passed a cop and for a split second thought he may have been speeding and at the exact moment he felt a chill of fear run down his spine, his dog had popped up from his curled up sleep and growled, not at us but toward the walls of the moving van. The dog had felt his fear and was jumping up in protection mode.

Izze was really good at sensing my moods, she would go into a heightened state of protection if I was feeling uneasy about a part of town we were in & if she didn't like someone, then I trusted her.
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when Izze died it all felt so surreal, like one day i was going to wake up & find that it was all a bad dream & i was going to wake up & see her there in her usual spot in front of the TV. in fact, for weeks after it all happened. (She died suddenly of a pulominary embolisim, she was to go in for surgery to repair a fracture in her back suffered by blunt trauma we thought someone did to her but could never prove it :'( ). still some times when i first wake up & look to where she used to sleep, i think i see her sleeping there :(.

so i get what your going through, believe me.
I remember the posts about Izze, so sorry :(

At feeding time I always catch myself thinking "where's Thomas?" because he's not eating with the others, and at night when we let some of them in I think "must let Thomas in so he doesn't get cold". Etc. Then I remember.
I know, for so long after our daily walks & chuck it sessions were so lonely, what's worse was Josefina on he off leash time would look like she was 'looking' for something, she would run around like she usually does but she would look back at me & then look around almost like 'where's Izze?' it was hard.

Of course routines press on, the sun rises & the world makes its rounds. In my daily routine I don't 'miss' her (new dog, things fill in, you know) but in my heart there will always be a hole that no one will be able to fill :(. But I don't look for someone to fill it cue I know they can't.

When I adopted buddy I think he sensed that I was hurting & needed a friend :), it was a challenge to get him (foster parents were in Austin, we are just south of Brenham tx & we tried four or five times to meet with no avail but the sixth time was the charm & we got buddy :) ) he was soooooo worth it, I still miss Izze but I am blessed to have buddy in my life.

Lil fuzzy I will keep you in my prayers that you find peace & eventually, when the sting goes away, a new friend :).
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That sense of unreality after a death is so weird and disorienting, isn't it? All those firsts, all those times where that loved one fit into our lives that are now empty spots, they trip you up, and make you run into that void all over again, and again. :( On the comforting side, it sounds like he had a full, long, and well-loved life. (I lost my Rowdy cat, also adopted as a stray and rather battered by life, but full of love and personality, just last month. I share your pain. :( )
Yeah exactly, that's exactly how I felt after Izze died, but I just didn't know how to explain it. I think it's also harder when it's a sudden death like Thomas' or Izze's bc ther is no time to 'prepare', you know?

But it doesn't matter how it happens, when someone loses a cherished animal friend, it's always so hard, & getting over it seems harder then Climbing mt Everast.
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