Lots of BBB readers have emailed over the past few weeks to ask how Honey is getting along without Coco, so I thought I’d a) say thank you so much for asking and b) give you a quick update.
If I didn’t have a beauty blog, I’d most likely have a dog blog – I’m obsessed with them! We had dogs as children (Labradors – big, soppy things!) but Honey was the first dog that belonged to me. When she was about one, we got Coco, so now, aged ten, Honey will not be able to remember a time when she wasn’t part of a dog duet.
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It’s one thing dealing with your own grief, but when your dog is grieving, it’s a whole other thing. After Coco died, she never looked for her – not once, and I think that’s because she was in the same room at the vet’s as Coco when it happened and her senses told her enough to know.
She was okay for the first few days – not confused or bewildered. But after that, she went into such a decline – really fed up and depressed. She didn’t want to chase her ball or eat her food. I took her to the vet several times; he was very understanding but also identified that she had a bad back so gave her pain killers. These helped with the pain but made her so sleepy and even more depressed that we had to change pain killers several times to find ones that she could manage. Even so, she was just withdrawn and, sad, basically. Just a very sad little dog. Some people hold the theory that dogs don’t feel grief – and it’s true that sometimes dogs aren’t in the least affected by the death of a companion – but Honey’s grief was very real and a complete reminder every day that something truly sad had happened.
We really upped the tempo in the house – I even got her playing on my iPad! She was super confused – it’s a little game with a mouse that runs across the screen that squeaks if she bats a paw on it, but she was so convinced that the mouse was under the iPad, I started to fear for it! I got her some mental agility games and made sure I walked with other friends with dogs so she could socialise.
One day I forgot to give her the pain killers, and then in a mix up of who was feeding her when, they got forgotten again. She clearly wasn’t in any pain, so the upshot is that her back pain – which the vet thought would be forever – is completely gone and she is pretty much back to her old self. Personally, I now think it was a physical manifestation of the situation – degenerated discs (diagnosis) don’t get better on their own. In a lot of ways, Coco overshadowed Honey so there is a lot of pleasure in re-discovering her personality as an ‘only’ dog. She has changed all her routines herself – she eats when she feels like it and not to a drill as before, she sleeps on my bed now instead of on her own (we did this from day one), she is much more sociable with other dogs – and people. In fact, I would say she finally has her happiness back.
I think if she could have a choice she’d have Coco back in a heartbeat – we all would – but that awful low point is well and truly behind her. She’s really happy and at peace with the situation (more than can be said for me!) and just enjoying being our dog. I wasn’t sure if we’d ever get our Honey back or how long a dog’s sadness could possibly last, but now I know.
The other question that people have asked – a lot – is whether I’ll get another one. I am nowhere near ready to do this – dog owners will understand when I say that Coco is still too present in the house to consider it. I think I really have to wait til she is happy to go, which isn’t yet. It’s hard to explain without sounding quite mad, but occasionally she walks beside me still.
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