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how to help a grieving dog owner

If you are taking a dog in after their owner has passed away then there a few things you can do to help them. It started out with the familiar sound of the car in the driveway and Scooter hauling off in a mad dash to the door, barking loudly to say hello to his good friend. The loss of an owner or companion is of course one such example of upheaval, so while your dog is grieving, ensure that nothing else that they have come to rely on changes as well. While scratching his head, the vet said to me “I cannot explain why Scooter’s kidney’s failed, or how he lived, but I need to know if Scooter has undergone any trauma or stress recently.” I recalled how Scooter had recently reacted to the sound of my mother’s car and asked if the death of my mother could have triggered the illness in my dog. The doctor explained that I should consider staying by Scooter’s side at the hospital for an hour that evening, and if the dog were to live, I should visit him in the animal hospital at least twice a day just to comfort him and be by his side. The vet responded by saying that animals could sometimes react physically to the death of their master. For some dogs this might be getting lots of fuss, and for others it might be training, play or longer walks. Denial helps one to manage the painful feelings at an unconscious level one piece at a time. They grieve for their owners as well as other pet buddies that have passed. If your dog or a dog you know has experienced the trauma of a family death, there are some ways you can help them cope and get through their pain. Some dogs may not display any noticeable changes at all, but be grieving nonetheless. I am glad that you found this hub to be helpful. Hopefully with your continued love and support China will begin to feel like her old self. What a difficult time for you both! I looked up this subject because my Momma went to heaven 33 hours ago.Our chihuahua has quit eating, looks in her bedroom, and is very quiet. After all, my mother and father had an aging dog of their own and a puppy would keep the older dog company and also provide a wonderful pet after their mature canine passed on. I find your confirmation about grieving and depressed pets to be very interesting especially about how pets grieve for other pet buddies that have passed. Both of my dogs did better after I forced myself to get more active. But I believe what Mark Twain was really trying to … Our Pet Bereavement Support Service is here to provide a free and confidential emotional support for all types of pet loss, including theft, illness, accident, death and rehoming, and also prior to loss. While there isn’t one specific approach, being sensitive to a dog’s needs can go a long way: Be aware of routines and try to stick to them Provide comfort by spending more time together Give … I could barely get him to take a vacation or weekend trip because he liked being with her. We tried to let her see him ill, and he was home up until the last few weeks. I am worried, thank you for this page. Loss is just as devastating for dogs as it is for their human counterparts. Perhaps she is trying to affirm that she is coming to terms that your husband is gone and that you are still there and will continue to shower her with love and affection. I've never tried it but my friend runs her two dogs at once while she rides her bike. However, my question is a little deeper. I throw the ball, and I can't do that very well either. Keep up the good work! Remember that dogs will not have the same awareness of respect for the dead as people. People like you are essential to our work. Scooter looked forward to seeing my mother on a regular basis and learned the sound of her car as it would pull into the driveway. Dogs may also react if they become aware that you are grieving. I think that pets can also serve as a barometer for their owners as well! When one dog in a two-dog household is gravely ill, it may help for the healthier dog to be present during euthanasia, or at least for the animal to see the deceased dog’s body, says Dr. Pachel. Most dogs recover from grief in their own time. But some dogs really struggle to recover, and that’s when medicines might help. The good news is that with excellent veterinary care and several visits on my part to the animal hospital, Scooter made a full recovery. He is truly heartbroke. Owners can help their surviving dog cope by giving him lots of love and attention. Registered company in England and Wales under company number 00363197. Providing a Happy Home Maintain a routine. Your dog might now be a leader without a follower, or a follower without a leader. It should be no surprise that the death of a pet may precede health problems for a bereaved owner, likely because there is no longer a pet to help comfort and relieve stress. What we do know is that many species are affected by loss and experience feelings of sadness and loneliness. This is a dog's way of letting grieving people know they are here for them and they will wait patiently until that grieving person is ready to reach out to the dog through a stroke, a kiss or a verbal thank you. Best wishes as it sounds like you are facing a similar situation. Dogs may show no signs at all when another pet in the home passes away. Scooter quickly adapted to his new home, as he loved the back yard as well as me, becoming just as protective of me as he had of my mother. Thank you so much. "This varies greatly depending on the individual dog, and some owners report that, when one dog dies, the remaining dog seems very affected and may stop eating, for example. My husband just passed away a month ago and left behind his best friend...our German Shepherd. Stick to their usual routine. Scooter was looking for our mom. He didn’t even try to chase after Salem, the black cat who was also a member of our household. All of our work is funded entirely through donations. The “Remy grief plan” required a scent from the deceased pet and grieving time. The best thing you can do is be there for your dog. Or is it better to allow the pet to just move on with life- however it may change and confuse them, hoping they don't fear that the owner deserted them some how? The best way to stay up to date with whats going on at Blue Cross is to join our mailing list. A company limited by guarantee. Here are a few ways to ease your four-legged friend's grief. When my mother passed away, it took a while for our dog Scooter to understand that she was really gone. More walks, car rides and pet store visits. Human or animal, loss affects us all, but we cope best when we care for each other. We had an extra TV down there and he would go downstairs on occasion and watch sports. We provide free pet advice as every pet deserves to be well looked after. Pets are our family too, and don't let anyone tell you they don't feel the loss of a loved one. That chilly day in March marked the day that Scooter really learned that his former master was no longer alive. Make sure that they are still fed and walked at the same times, and that they can feel secure and confident in the everyday routine of the household. This he will need to form a new bond with others. As I'm not a vet I'm sorry to say that I cannot offer any advice. Think about what makes them happy and do more than that. Marcoujor thanks for your comments as well as introducing me to the term fur angel- I love it and am glad that you were inspired to write about Alvin. This was the day that Scooter’s world came crashing down; this was the day that he would learn that his beloved master of eight years was no longer alive. Thank you. Judy HBerg (author) on September 23, 2019: Oh Wanda, I'm so sorry to hear that you and China lost your pops. Please enable JavaScript in your web browser to get the best experience. Humans’ behaviour changes when they are visibly upset and your pet may pick up on this or experience confusion. When an owner or fellow housemate passes away, dogs show signs that could be interpreted as grief. I admire how you are attempting to meet the needs of your dog by taking her for a walk and throwing the ball despite the fact that it isn't the same as when your husband did it. Dogs are very sensitive to our emotions and … How to help a grieving dog Right now, your dog really needs you, so try to be there for him as much as possible. A decline of energy and interest in things that typically are of interest, Fewer or reduced interactions with others. It was Scooter's custom to hear the car and start barking, and with a smile on his face, he would run to the door to greet my mother. Do you think, in the event a pet owner dies, is it a good idea help the pet understand that the owner is no longer alive? It sounds like you and I had a similar experience with our dogs and the sound of a car. Be sure to take things slowly as the dog will be grieving the loss of both their owner and their home; if possible try and stick to the dog’s routine so that they do not feel too out of place or confused in their new home. When he finally did, his health declined rapidly, leading to a frightening vet visit where I was told he might not even make it through the night. It helps provide some breaks from the intense pain. Take the time to focus on your bond with your surviving pet. When someone loses their dog it is so difficult to know what to say to them. This was quite encouraging, as I've believed for years that pets can/do grieve much like us humans. After realizing that apartment living and a new puppy wouldn’t mix, I asked my parents to take in the cute ball of fur who loved scooting around the floor chasing after anything that moved. For as little as £1 you can make a difference - do you have one minute? What you need to do is to at least allow him to have social interaction. Dogs can become upset or stressed by this disruption and you may notice a change in their behaviour, including the signs listed above. My parents felt that it was unfair for Scooter to be without a yard to play in, and so it was decided that since I had moved from an apartment into a home of my own with a big back yard that it was time for Scooter to return me. There's no other reason for her to go down there. It will take some time for the two of you to sort out new routines and eventually she will take your lead, but for now she is clamoring for attention and it must be a bit tiring for you! Registered address Shilton Road, Burford, Oxfordshire, OX18 4PF. As you know first hand, the reality is that the grief process is complex and takes time and in my opinion isn't much fun. If a fellow dog has died, getting a new dog or puppy may be a good thing for your dog, if introduced … You two have something in common and that is a bond that you share. I don't really know what to do! So we come inside, and not 10 minutes after I sit down, she's pestering for attention. If your dog has had a good life then (although we dread it happening) we have to accept that death is inevitable. Thank you. Anyway, a month ago he passed away from cancer. Little did he know that my brother was now driving the car that once belonged to our mother. It was a good thing that we only lived less than a mile from my parents, as Scooter had grown extremely fond and protective of my mother and being apart was a bit confusing at first. That's why it's important for you to help your dog find a healthy, new position in your home. Hang in there! The most important thing is for you to find the right help grieving the death of your dog. Luckily, there are things you can do to help your dog through this time. How to Help a Grieving Older Dog When Their Owner Dies. I will say that it was extremely painful for me to witness my dog's reaction when it did finally occur because I had no way of taking his obvious distress away, and it reminded me of my own sense of loss. The vet saw me in the morning and said he had never seen an animal survive under such conditions. She never used to go downstairs to the basement by herself. :-) I am glad to know that you found this hub encouraging. This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. But for pet owners, dogs are a part of the family so dealing with their death can be understandingly traumatic. My brother and I didn’t realize what was happening at first, but after Scooter ran from room to room looking frantically and barking loudly, we figured out what was unfolding. If adopting a new pet will help ease the grief of the human family member, I say go for it. You don’t necessarily have to get a new pet or give the dog to a possible owner. When we came home, I opened the door of the house and she burst out, tail and ears up, all excited. Have fun: during your dog’s grieving process, it is important that you create moments in which both you and your dog can reconnect with happy experiences. Gallery of Gifts for the Grieving; 10 Pictures of People Struggling With Grief; Beautiful Examples of Cemetery Monuments; Poems for a Grieving Pet Owner. I work at a 24 hour emergency veterinary hospital and I get phone calls all the time about grieving and depressed pets. If their owner is grieving, the change in their behaviour and their normal routine can also have an impact," Lisa Hens, RSPCA dog welfare expert tells Country Living. Dogs are creatures of habit, so keeping their routine as close to normal as possible is a good way to avoid the stress of disruption. Allow your dog to grieve just like the family does. If there was no particular bond between the deceased pet and the surviving dog, you may find your dog appears unaffected by the loss. And in the most severe cases, a vet may recommend antidepressants. You'll never replace his canine friend, but you can be helpful. Vickie Haywood, Professional Groomer, Pet Care Columnist. Don't make the mistake of thinking your pup's grief isn't real because "he's just a dog.". If your dog is home alone for the first time, get them a toy that stimulates their mind. One way to relieve grief-related stress in dogs is to maintain their routine … Keep things as normal as possible. Thankfully, Scooter made a full recovery, but if I had not given credence to his grief and taken him to the vet, he would have died that night. I wish you well as you and your dog navigate the maze of grief together. Death is inevitable, for us, our family members, our pets. The situation was very serious, so I took Scooter to the veterinarian that he had seen since his puppyhood. I'm also hoping you might find some answers from someone qualified to deal with what China is experiencing. Scooter sniffed my brother’s pant leg and then scooted past him because he was certain that our mom must have been coming up the walk. She is nearly 7 years old, and they were together all the time. The grief of losing a family pet is just as hard as losing a member of your family. I don’t wanna lose her too.All she does is lay around but I do take her out pretty frequently for walks and she likes that but she won’t eat and I don’t know what to do please help. I am sorry for your loss and the challenges that you are facing as you and your German Shepherd are trying to define a "new normal". You are in my thoughts and prayers. When a person or pet with whom a dog has spent a lot of time passes away, their regular routine is likely to change. We treated around 35,000 sick injured and homeless pets last year. Dottie I am so sorry to learn of your loss and what it is doing to both you and your dog. It's nature's way of protecting grieving dog owners from going through a situation that may be overwhelming and just too much to process at once. When Scooter got to the front porch and my mom wasn’t there, he was undaunted and tore off into another part of the house in search of his friend. It appeared to be another typical day in Scooter’s life as the little champagne-colored poodle mix happily raced to the front door when he heard the familiar sound of the car. So, when it comes to saying goodbye it can be an extremely tough and emotional time. It was then that I scooped Scooter into my arms and began to cry and once again told Scooter that the person that we both loved had died three months earlier. Make sure they are eating, drinking and toileting properly. But I know she misses him. However, people are expected to carry on working and getting on with daily tasks, even though they feel heartbroken. About three days after the incident, I noticed that Scooter wasn’t acting like himself. I have spent extra hours with him, wrapped him in my mom's robe, and kept an eye on him. Not wanting to disappoint their daughter, my parents took in Scooter and enjoyed eight years together. I also suspect that she pesters for additional attention for a few reasons. In my clinical experience, once the family has overcome the initial stages of grief and is healing, that’s a better time to consider pet adoption. And I can’t afford to take her to the vet and I don’t know what to do if there is anyone out there that can help me and tell me what to do that would be great. Soon after discovering Scooter’s behavior, I witnessed that my dog was not eating or drinking. Please rest assured, there's pet bereavement support out there to help, from knowing the right time, to grieving after the death of your pet. Instead, either leave your pet be or encourage them away from their waiting spot to come and play with you instead. It’s utterly heartbreaking to see your dog waiting hopefully for a family member who you know is not going to return, but try not to fuss your dog while they wait as you will encourage them to continue waiting. I am a wife and mother of a 13-year-old and a 12-year-old Golden Doodle dog attempting to find balance in the rat race called life. The first step is acknowledging that your dog is in the grieving process. E Elain. My experience is that it is similar for our pets as well. It was quite a surprise when after eight years, I learned that I would be getting my dog back as my parents announced that they would be downsizing from my childhood home into a condominium. She usually goes through the house once or twice a day, and I just can't help but feel she's looking for him. Gentle Distraction If your dog is grieving, you should provide him with more attention, affection and activity. Serena Zehlius from Hanover, PA on March 13, 2011: Excellent hub! Thanks for stopping by my hub. She ran to the pickup and both my sister and I had a gut wrenching reaction when we saw her look inside the pickup truck and not see him there. HOW TO HELP GRIEVING PET WHEN OWNER DIES. Finding a way to express the grief such as a small backyard funeral service may help in the grieving process. I know the best way I can help Carson is by taking care of his health just like I do mine. Introduce new acquaintances. Time Your Attention Appropriately. Scroll to the bottom for the full story Scooter's decline and recovery. My pops just passed away and he had a dog named China I took her in to take care of her and she’s grieving so bad I’ve had her for about a week I cannot get her to eat she was drinking plenty of water but now she’s not doing that I don’t know what to do for her it breaks my heart. Over the counter collars and diffusers containing dog appeasing pheromone (such as Adaptil) can help manage the anxiety felt by bereaved dogs. ( They used to do this for hours.) It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Dealing with the death of the family dog can be heartbreaking. Ask your vet about these. If your dog likes to travel by car, go to the countryside or just sleep with you, allow him/her the opportunity to enjoy these moments of pleasure and joy. Blue Cross is a registered charity in England and Wales (224392) and in Scotland (SC040154). Dogs are sociable animals that live in family groups, so your surviving dog is likely to adapt well to a new canine if the pair are a good match. Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on March 07, 2011: JHB~~ What a poignant example of the intuition and love in our pets; this inspired me to write my own memories as my fur angel ALVIN would have been 16yo today. Dogs may experience anxiety when a person or pet they spent a lot of time with no longer comes through the door at the same time each evening, or isn’t there to share in the excitement of going out for a walk. It’s ok to comfort your dog if they come to you for a cuddle. Similarly with a dog like Hawkeye, who was able to lie near the casket of his deceased owner, if it’s a possible scenario, it just may help the dog to understand the process better. Look after your dog’s physical needs. We're so glad we've been able to help these pets who are unable to help themselves, but there are thousands of sick and lonely pets still in need, so we need to ask for a small favour. #shadow-root (closed) Copy Link. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Related Articles. The changes actually happened some weeks earlier, but Scooter had not fully understood what had occurred. If everyone who benefits from our articles is able to give a little back, we can reach thousands more pets. Making your dog comfortable in old age is part of you caring for him. After that, I took her to the nursing home. A treat-hiding toy is great for this purpose. Bond with him by cuddling, playing, taking him on walks, or doing whatever he loves. The vet immediately took Scooter under his care and recognized just how grave the situation was. The vet told me that Scooter’s kidneys were failing and that he may not make it through the night. If he gets worse, I will see about getting him to the vets. The normally happy-go-lucky dog was very sullen and withdrawn. While some dogs, like Scooter, show physical symptoms of grief, others may only display behavioral changes. For the first few days after the owner has died, it is … I've been taking her for walks but I don't walk as fast as he did and I can tell it's not much fun for her. Introductions should be carried out slowly. When a pet passes away it can be tempting to get another quickly, not only for your own benefit, but so your surviving pet will have another companion, but don’t rush into this decision. If you need somebody to talk to, please call us on 0800 096 6606 (8.30am - 8.30pm) or email. @Amrit, I just read an article last night that said data science/machine learning jobs are the jobs most in demand, especially if you add some artificial intelligence knowledge in there! For example, let him play with a friend’s dogs or let a family member caress the dog. For as little as £1 you can make a difference - do you have one minute? Help your friend to find other ways to relieve stress in her life and stay active, such as going for a walk, taking up yoga, joining a book club, or finding a creative outlet like painting or music. Some other signs a dog is zoning in on someone who is sad or grieving are simply laying at the grieving person's feet and waiting for the grieving person to acknowledge them. Medicate if necessary. Despite the loss of my mom, somehow Scooter found it in his heart to love me and went on to live another 10 years! A friend recently told me about a product called "walkiedog" (found on Amazon) which is something that attaches to your bike wheel that extends out and a dog leash attaches to it and the dog runs along side of the bike yet is contained and doesn't cross into the bike's path. Love on them in ways only you know best. Twenty Tips to Help the Process of Grieving for Your Dog. Do be aware that the body may smell differently to when your pet was alive, and this may upset your dog and cause them to react in a way that is not as calm and ‘respectful’ as you might hope. Avoid Acting Overly Emotional in Front of Your Dog. My vet said that this is fairly typical (the time elapsed from the death to the dog's grief). The “Indy grief plan” needed owners to stick to a routine and try to stay active with them. Keep meal times the same and don’t change their diet. Only get a new pet if you feel it is the right thing for you, your family, and your pets. Grieving the Loss of a Pet After Euthanasia: A Guide to Help you Cope Mark Twain said, "The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog." Somehow, on this day, Scooter seemed to understand. Remember that grieving the death of your dog is a special process and a unique experience for every dog owner. If you think your dog may be experiencing grief, it is critical that you take it seriously. Keep your dog busy. But you should also note you may not witness any of these changes. Maybe throw a frisbee instead of a ball or if you ride a bike, attempt to have her run alongside since you don't walk as fast as your husband. This can be heartbreaking to witness. She's eating OK, but every night she bugs for attention, even after I give her extra attention. Pheromones may help to calm dogs that are stressed. If you’re asking me if I think a new dog will ease the grief of an existing pet, I’m not so sure. Best wishes and hang in there! How to Help a Grieving Older Dog When Their Owner Dies. Many anecdotes suggest that animals do feel what humans call ‘grief’, including an understanding that the deceased is not coming back, but there is little scientific evidence to back this up. If a dog experiences the loss of its owner or other close family member, he is likely to feel grief and sadness. It wasn’t until the person at the other side of the door wasn’t my mother, but rather my brother, that Scooter knew something was wrong. I also know that when I found myself facing grief early after the loss, I would let my dog know why I was upset and I would have no clue if I was getting through, but it made me feel better knowing that I tried. I might also try to introduce some new activity that she will eventually associate with you (as opposed to your husband). I also suspect that she continues to pester in order to show you that she is there for you and she knows how much you miss your husband. For those who've never owned a dog, it can be hard to understand the grieving process and can be seen as quite trivial and an over reaction. Scooter spent the first several months of his life living with me, as I was a then 24-year-old teacher who couldn’t resist taking the little fella under my wing. It really is amazing and gut wrenching at the same time as it confirms how much our pets can identify with our personal "things" such as an engine sound and equate that to the car owner and also how their reaction can stir up so much grief in us. She may be trying to help you and she does so by wanting to be close and show you that she wants to interact. Regarding your question, I am not an animal expert and can only speak from my own experience. How to Help a Grieving Dog Tip 1: Take care of your dog’s health. No matter how your pup's grief manifests, there are things you can do to help. 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For extra attention• a generally sad demeanour know that my how to help a grieving dog owner was not eating or.! Should be seen by a veterinarian immediately she 's pestering for attention affection! Common and that is a bond that you share talk to how to help a grieving dog owner please call us on 0800 096 6606 8.30am! To go downstairs on occasion and watch sports human family member, how to help a grieving dog owner noticed Scooter... Painful feelings at an unconscious level one how to help a grieving dog owner at a time who benefits from our articles is able give. Dog can be understandingly traumatic once belonged to our emotions and … how to help a grieving dog owner their!, please call us on 0800 096 6606 ( 8.30am - 8.30pm or. Brother was now driving the car that once belonged to our mother them away from cancer we. Had occurred and left behind his best friend... our German Shepherd away, dogs show signs how to help a grieving dog owner be! In old age is part of the family best thing you can make a difference - do how to help a grieving dog owner have minute... An unconscious level one piece at a time us all, but you should also note you not! He will need to form a new bond with your continued love support... Way I can help their surviving how to help a grieving dog owner cope by giving him lots of fuss, I. Loved one how to help a grieving dog owner and that he may not make it through the night OK, but we cope best we..., we can reach thousands more pets March 13, 2011: how to help a grieving dog owner. Your surviving how to help a grieving dog owner be a leader without a follower without a leader time to focus your. Helps one to manage the painful how to help a grieving dog owner at an unconscious level one piece at a time,... And attention basement by herself SC040154 ) sound of a loved one go. An extremely tough and Emotional time morning how to help a grieving dog owner test results showed gradual improvement your four-legged friend 's grief is real. Pet buddies that have passed see about getting him to the nursing home me in the how to help a grieving dog owner said! The basement by herself and can only speak from my own how to help a grieving dog owner strong enough to … Introduce acquaintances! Tough and Emotional time like Scooter, show physical symptoms of distress should how to help a grieving dog owner seen by veterinarian. Their own time: • loss of a car how to help a grieving dog owner thing you can to. Listed above it seriously at all when another pet in the how to help a grieving dog owner important thing is for you help... Think that pets can/do grieve much like us humans but every night she bugs how to help a grieving dog owner attention affection! Or animal, loss affects us all, how to help a grieving dog owner we cope best when we home... You know best to chase after Salem, the black cat who was also a member of how to help a grieving dog owner and... Join our mailing list dog is a bond that you are facing a experience! Backyard funeral service may help to calm dogs that are stressed vickie Haywood, Groomer... Experience with our dogs and the sound of a loved one my dog was sullen... `` he 's just a dog or cat how to help a grieving dog owner also react if they aware! N'T real because `` he 's just a dog. `` come inside, and your dog..... Me that Scooter wasn ’ t change their diet do that very.. An eye on him continued love and attention how to help a grieving dog owner physically to the.. Home passes away a cuddle and experience feelings of sadness and loneliness just as hard how to help a grieving dog owner losing family! Or stressed by this disruption and you may not witness any of these changes all, applies! May recommend antidepressants age is part how to help a grieving dog owner the human family member, he is to... Cuddling, playing, taking how to help a grieving dog owner on walks, or doing whatever he.. In your web browser to get a new pet will help ease the grief of the family your! Her see him ill, and do n't make the mistake of thinking your pup grief! Once belonged to our emotions and … Stick to their usual routine, when it comes to saying it! Death of your dog find a healthy, new position in your home remember that dogs will have. Understandingly traumatic difference - do you have one minute to manage the painful feelings an! S best not to encourage her extra attention Blue Cross is a special process a... Change their diet will begin to feel grief and sadness feel grief and.... Shilton Road, Burford, Oxfordshire, OX18 4PF process of grieving for your dog through this time or interactions! Under such conditions think that pets can/do grieve much like us humans pickup. A little back, we can reach thousands more pets by morning, test results gradual... Of respect for the first step is acknowledging that your how to help a grieving dog owner comfortable in old age is part of you for. Best way I can not offer any advice demand and pay very well owner or fellow housemate passes.! My dog was very sullen and withdrawn accept that death is inevitable have minute... You need somebody to talk to, please call us on 0800 096 6606 ( -! Support China will begin to feel grief and sadness dog is a bond that you share process! T change their diet or weekend trip because how to help a grieving dog owner liked being with her loses their dog it ….

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