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 Do pets really grieve?
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Storm
SFN Regular

USA
708 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2005 :  13:46:42  Show Profile  Visit Storm's Homepage Send Storm a Private Message
I am just working on one of my numerous articles for my job's website concerning Pet Loss. Currently I am writing about Pet Grief. Do our pets really Grieve the loss of a companion like you or I? One of their own kind?
One of the human kind? Their human companion?
What are your thoughts? Who are your pets? I have shared my pets? Share yours?
But also comment on pet grief. What animals feel?


[Moved to the General Discussion folder - Dr. Mabuse]

Edited by - Dr. Mabuse on 01/10/2005 06:03:44

Shacal
Skeptic Friend

USA
51 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2005 :  13:58:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Shacal a Private Message
Pets do not "grieve" in the human sense. Yes, when an owner dies many pets will show symptoms of distress. However, this is not because they are in a period of mourning: when an owner dies it often throws off a pets routine. Something that changes a pet's daily schedule will cause them extra stress.

Then again some pets demonstrate nothing in the way of distress when an owner dies, usually in a multi-owner household (the other one mantains its routine).

If someone wants to say that a pet is "grieving" (once again, in the human sense) they would have to give a convincing reason why it was not caused by one of these very animal-like things.

No, cats and dogs do not grieve for their own kinds. Like I said earlier, they may show distress at the disappearance of something they are used to (another animal). You can call this grief if you like, but somehow I don't think that is what you mean.


My pets? I have two cats- and they live to annoy me (but I love 'em anyway).

"The problem with communication is the illusion that we have accomplished it"
Edited by - Shacal on 01/06/2005 14:03:28
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Plyss
Skeptic Friend

Netherlands
231 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2005 :  13:59:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Plyss a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Storm

I am just working on one of my numerous articles for my job's website concerning Pet Loss. Currently I am writing about Pet Grief. Do our pets really Grieve the loss of a companion like you or I? One of their own kind?
One of the human kind? Their human companion?
What are your thoughts? Who are your pets? I have shared my pets? Share yours?
But also comment on pet grief. What animals feel?



We used to have both a cat and a dog around the house and as long as the cat didn't try to eat the dogs food they got along fine. Whenever i would take the dog for his morning walk the cat would follow us around.
At some point the cat was run over by a car and died. When we took home the body the dog really looked rather distressed at the sight of our dead cat.
I am unable to say however if this was his standard reaction to larger dead animals (he didn't react this way to dead mice and birds) or wether he was reacting to our distress at the situation or whether he was really saddened by the loss.

Considering dogs can't articulate their feelins the way we can i suppose it's a question that will remain forever unanswered. I'm tempted to the interpretation that our dog responded to our own emotions. The reason for this is as follows: My kid sister had a pet rat that died, and the dog reacted in pretty much the same way as to the loss of our cat, although he had never reacted to dead rodents in this way before, and hardly knew the rat as it hardly ever left my sisters room.

Stories abound however about animals appearing genuinely affected by the loss of a companion. I can imagine their is an inidividual component here depending on the specific pet involved.
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2005 :  14:10:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
Speaking from a strictly evolutionary standpoint, animals have an affinity to those they are related to. This is the same type of affinity which is between a mother and a baby.

When animals stay together in herds or packs, they have a much greater chance of survival, so these are the ones that have survived. What developed over time was an affinity to one's own family.

Now does it matter if they are not of the same species? No, not at all. Just take a look at the way a child views a pet dog. The child, more often than not, will view the dog as part of the family and has this affinity towards it over any other dog.

So my guess is that if we see this trait in animals that came before us, we have the same or something very similar to theirs. Of course, our brain is a bit more complex.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Storm
SFN Regular

USA
708 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2005 :  14:31:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Storm's Homepage Send Storm a Private Message
I think that animals articulate their feelings very well. It is just that we do not understand their spoken language. Whether that makes their brain more complex than mine or less intelligent I do not know. I do not think so. But I do not see them tearing down rainforests
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2005 :  15:08:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message
Heh, they don't tear down rainforests 'cause they can't. I don't think an animal would have any scruples in tearing a whole environment apart, given the chance to do so.

As for animals grieving... I don't know. I tend to believe they do have feelings, but I'm well aware I've no way to prove it... making of me a true believer in this area, heh. I love animals too much.

As many of you know, I've arthritis, which causes me to have lots of pain, from time to time. Now, I'm 20, and I've had this very same dog since I was 10. There are times, when I'm in pain and crying out of it, that my dog comes around and hops on the bed by me, licking my face non-stop until I start laughing. She does that immediatly, from the moment I start crying, even if she's not in the same room as I am. I wonder, what induced that reaction?

If a dog can show emotion, and grief's just another type of emotion... why not?

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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Storm
SFN Regular

USA
708 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2005 :  15:27:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Storm's Homepage Send Storm a Private Message
What a wonderful story Siberia!!! What is your Dogs name? Although dogs may feel emotion. Are they aware of what they are feeling? like we are? Been thinking about you and your knee surgery Siberia. it is Monday Correct? Thoughts and prayers Siberia.... My thoughts and prayers to you....
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2005 :  15:48:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message
Thanks dear! [hug]

Her name's Boneca (portuguese word for Doll), named after my mother's childhood dog - a mutt that kept coming back to her house.

There's another story. First of all, I really love horses - they're my favorite animal. I've sculptures (some made by myself), paintings, drawings, books, magazines, trinkets, so forth.

Where I do physical therapy at, they've equestrian therapy - horseback riding for the physically and mentally handicapped. So, one of these horses, his name's Odin. He's really gorgeous and happens to be a mix of my favorite breed. I kept trying to pet him, get close to him and such, but he didn't know me, and was naturally wary. Well, one day, I went to therapy - and I was really in the worst of moods, pissed, sad, and all. Odin was doing his work, and I went by the rail to watch while it wasn't my session's time... he came around, off his usual track, just to bump his head on my chest, a horse that never came near me. No need to say I had a smile on my face for the rest of the day

I know, I know. Most likely coincidence. But heck, I can't help but think he did it on purpose... leave me alone with my wishful thinking, lol.

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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Storm
SFN Regular

USA
708 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2005 :  15:55:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Storm's Homepage Send Storm a Private Message
Hail to your thinking Siberia!!! I believe the horse picked up on you and your energy towards him. Hail Odin!!!! Siberia Watching a great movie Jack the Giant Killer. Anyone here of it?
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9682 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2005 :  14:01:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Storm

Hail to your thinking Siberia!!! I believe the horse picked up on you and your energy towards him.
It's not about energy. Just as we can read each other to see that someone is in a foul mood, so can animals too. Probably even more so, because they depend on body-language communication much more than we do since they can't communicate verbally.

There is a place (I think in Florida) that uses dolphins for therapy. I don't recall exactly what, it was a while since I saw it. I think it was a combination of physical and emotional/psychological handicap. Anyway, they say the dolphins used their sonar to probe their patients, and apparently recognised skeletal defects (again from poor memory) in the spinal region.
Playing with the dolphins made them relax and become more susceptible to traditional treatment of the non-physical problems.

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Storm
SFN Regular

USA
708 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2005 :  14:15:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Storm's Homepage Send Storm a Private Message
You sure it is not energy?Does MOTE marine lab sound familiar? That might be the place you are talking about. That is 50 miles south of me.
Remember what I said about the rolling eyes icon.I use it not to roll my eyes at you but to do as a form of questioning. O.K.
I agree that dogs can sense our feelings. if they sense it Doc do they understand then and that is what makes Siberias Dog jump on her and Kiss her when she is hurting or Sad? If they do understand then to what level what degree?
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2005 :  14:41:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
Grieve in the accepted, human sense, no. But our pets, notably dogs, are decended from animals that lived in highly territoral, tightly structered, family groups. They have a very strong bonding instinct that they have transfered on to their owners. Should they be long term seperated from their owners, many will go into a decline, and some have even been known to die, especally if there is no one else for the animal to bond with.

Horses too, will firmly bond. The old saying, "Got his goat." refers to race horses back in, I think, the 1800s. As taking the race horse to the track with it's 'buddy' would be difficult if it were another horse, it was encouraged to bond with a smaller animal, often a goat and sometimes even a rabbit. Often a barn cat. The goat was kept in the horse's stall. And it went to the track with the horse. One way to 'fix' a race was to steal the goat; distressing the horse enough to throw it off it's stride.

Today, many race horses are allowed to bond with another horse that will be the lead pony taking the thourghbred to the starting gate.

I have a 15 year old cat and a seven year old 'house' 'possum. The 'possum is a rescue that returned through the cat door not long after being released, and has been with me ever since. He's not confined and the only bond we have concerns his food dish. The cat is a rather different story. She has been with me for so long that I can differentiate her cries. Want's food, water, open the door (if I'm home, she won't use the cat door, durn cat), and so forth.


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2005 :  16:10:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
quote:
Remember what I said about the rolling eyes icon.I use it not to roll my eyes at you but to do as a form of questioning.


How about this icon:


Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Storm
SFN Regular

USA
708 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2005 :  16:19:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Storm's Homepage Send Storm a Private Message
beacause the rollin eyes icon symbolizes the eyes looking around in observation, questioning
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Renae
SFN Regular

543 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2005 :  06:46:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Renae a Private Message
Of course, I think pets grieve. I think many animals feel their version of loss, loneliness, and sadness. Makes no sense to define "grief" according to our standards and our language.

If an animal can bond (and many can), they can grieve the rupture of that bond.

My former boss traveled a lot and left his dogs with us in the office during the day. The female dog was so strongly bonded with him that her "mood" would deteriorate with each day the boss was gone. By a week or so, she would be reduced to pacing in circles and clawing at the carpet. Her "brother", meanwhile, would pee behind my desk.

Just an anecdote...like we all have belly buttons, we all have anecdotes.
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2005 :  08:08:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
quote:
If an animal can bond (and many can), they can grieve the rupture of that bond.


For example, birds as well are very social animals. If you take a parrot and put him in a cage for a long time without contact, he will start to freak out. He will even become violent when humans do come.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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