• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

How to deal with a grieving(?) dog?

 
J Kiran
Posts: 3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello everyone,

I reside in an apartment in the city. It's very common to find stray and harmless dogs in our area. Around 8-9 months back, a stray dog (which was previously a pet) delivered 4 puppies (3 male and 1 female) behind our apartment block. A couple of months after the puppies arrived, the previous owner of the dog visited this place and the mother dog went back to them. The 4 puppies were left behind. 2 of them were then taken away for adoption. The remaining 2 (a male and the sole female) have been around here since then. I and one other family in this apartment block have been regularly feeding them.

The window of my living room in my apartment faces a hilly and grassy area. These 2 puppies spend most of their day in that area and I get to see them from my chair. I feed them from my window by throwing out food like boiled eggs and dog food. Both of them have a good sense of time since they make sure they are present right in front of my window when it's time for food. The two have been together every moment ever since the mother and the other puppies left.

The female puppy is the more naughtier of the two and also more "active" - keeps running and bouncing around and is very playful. The male puppy is a bit more quieter of the two and seems to be more mature and also protective of his sister. When it's food time though the male one dominates the female one. Although it does allow its sister to get some food, the male one gobbles up anything and everything that is served and that too very quickly. He then scoots over to where the sister is having its food and starts eating it. The female one surrenders many a times. But over time, the male one has learnt to not do that too often and instead let the sister have its share. I'm no dog expert, but I've observed that the male one "understands" me more than the female one. For example, after a few times where the male one pushed around the sister and started eating her food, I started to throw the food equally in 2 different areas in opposite directions. The male one would still finish up its part first and would start moving towards his sister to have her share, but I would then just raise my index finger towards it kind of signalling it to "stay". It would quietly sit down without advancing further to his sister.

Having said that, both of them are scared of humans. Although both of them are very friendly and seem to recognize me from my window, they do run away scared and barking from me and anyone else when anyone approaches them outside. I do understand why they do that and as such have decided not to get close to them since that makes them uncomfortable.

Overall, it has been a enjoyable as well as a learning experience seeing them grow since the past 8 months.

Now onto some recent events. Last weekend, the male, all of a sudden one day stopped eating anything. This was really surprising, especially since he was the one who would gobble up anything that's fed to him while his sister usually was very choosy. That day, he didn't eat anything that I fed him from my window. I felt it was odd but didn't know what to make of it. There was another family, in a different apartment block, which feeds them daily just like me and I thought that maybe he had eaten a larger share there that day. The next day I rarely caught a glimpse of him which again was strange since I would almost always see both of them for major part of the day. A couple of times the next day when I did see him, he avoided any eye contact with me and just jogged away even if I served it its daily dog food. The female dog though was continuing to eat what was fed to her, although her visits too had shortened for the couple of days. At this point though, I had started to get concerned about what's going on. But since both of them would start running scared and barking whenever I approached them, I wasn't sure what to do.

By the third morning, I had become a lot more concerned and in the morning decided to take a look in the other part of the apartment block to see how they were doing. While talking to one other person who too had noticed the male dog not eating properly, I realized that something's seriously wrong with his health. He had lost a lot of weight and looked very weak and unlike himself. At one point he was lying around without much movement when I took some water and food towards it. It just lied there and for a dog which used to bark and run away as soon as it saw someone within around 10 feet from himself, this was a bit shocking since I placed the water bowl right beside it and it just didn't move. It was a Sunday and by that time I had started calling for help for a vet. A few hours later although we did manage to carry him to a medical facility, his health had terribly gone down. Unfortunately, he passed away in the next few hours The doctors couldn't say what was the cause except that it might have to do with either some food he might have eaten for something (like a snake perhaps) biting him.

Having spent most of my time seeing them near my window for the past many months, it was really difficult to see him in that shape, in his final moments. Much more hard and hurting since I think we could have done a better job had we called for help immediately after seeing its behaviour the first day when he stopped eating.

Now that the male dog has gone, the female one has become extremely lonely and sad. I can see it in her eyes whenever she makes eye contact for few seconds. When her brother was around she used to be so lively but now she looks more like a zombie She rarely eats now. Although she was always choosy when it comes to food, these days she just doesn't seem to have much appetite. Earlier, her face used to be smilingly cute but now she just looks real sad. She continues to avoid human contact even now which makes it more difficult for me to get closer to it. Although she has been eating slowly and only certain food, it really hurts to see her this way. It even is concerning given what happened to her brother the last week. These days she rarely does any eye contact with me.

I know I have written a long post but I am hoping for some kind of advice on how to deal with this situation and make sure she stays fine. Like I said, I am no dog expert. Is this grieving (which is what it looks like) normal for siblings in the dog family? During the past few days, I've tried getting a bit closer to her but that hasn't worked and she has continued barking out loudly and running away, in contrast to how she behaves when she's near the window of my house. Does this mean that she doesn't recognize me when she sees me in some other place or is she just not comfortable with anyone near her? What should I be doing in such situations? I've decided not to keep getting closer to her at least for now. Is that the right thing to do?

It's really difficult to put in words on how much she has changed since the incident and how hard it is to see her like this. Any kind of advice from those of you who have more experience with dogs than me, is very much appreciated.





 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
104
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It seems that this dog is feral and not socialized to humans . Feral dogs are not wild dogs and are still dependant on humans for food , even scavenging for trash. The liveliness this she hound demonstrated is probably in relation to her sibling . She was playing and interacting with him and now has no dog to interact with. It is possible she is also sick . Parasites and viruses kill many a young canine. She may pull through and be stronger for it. At her age she is now sexually mature and will begin to attract he hounds. Her next social group will be the pups she bears. I am not an expert at socializing feral dogs but it can be done . The longer she stays feral the harder it will be , if not impossible. Food is going to be the lure to attract her to a relationship with humans . She will probably never be a very sociable { with humans } hound , I would not trust her around small children for a long time. A "one person dog" is her fate I think . I don't know where you live , but this female is poised to produce a number of feral dogs - exponentially -starting today. So , unless your community needs or enjoys feral dogs this one needs to be made a pet , or in the least spayed .
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A Greek Orthodox Saint wrote how to tame wild animals. You feed them at the same time every day. Once they're accustomed to that, you start being closer and closer to the place where the food is delivered but back away so they'll eat. Then you back away less and less. Their hunger and greed will drive them to go ahead and eat while you're a little closer than they're used to. Eventually you can have them take the food from your hand. That's a little bit risky because of fear biting, but if you keep really calm and quiet and the dog is used to you it should be ok. Then when she's eating out of your hand, you can try petting her a little bit. She'll probably back away but come back if you wait.

The alternative is to get the Humane Society to leave out a havahart trap with stinky food in it to catch her then get her spayed and see if they'll release her to you or one of the neighbors who have been feeding her. Tuna fish works pretty well, or canned dog food; and I've yet to see a dog that didn't want to eat canned corned beef hash. You could ask the neighbors to not feed her the day before so she's hungry and more likely to go into the trap - she could be picky just because of all the food different people are giving her.
 
J Kiran
Posts: 3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you Wayne and Renate for your posts.

To answer some of your questions, I live in India and that dog is an Indian Pariah http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_pariah_dog.

Over this weekend (which is one week since the incident), I kept a bit more closer watch on her and the good news is that she seems to be getting over it well. The first few days after that incident, she was walking slow, not interested in even her favourite food and wasn't making any eye contact. But over this weekend, she has steadily become a bit more active. She is now making much more eye contact and has been eating more actively. It's not the same as before and neither am I expecting it to be. But she surely seems to be managing this well which is a good sign after having seen her sad looking eyes.
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wonder if they were both poisoned and she got the lesser dose and has been slowly recovering.

We had a dog that was best friends with a neighbor's dog, they spent all day together, every day. Then our dog got hit by a car, the result of his unfortunate habit of sleeping in our driveway. Their dog, shut in the basement, somehow knew and started howling. The next day it was sad but it kind of got over it pretty soon. I think animals are pretty resilient and bounce back from tragedy in a few days, at least usually. Tho, like people, I think they remember and may have emotional scars for life, like the dog that was in a house fire and from then on was afraid fire would harm her family.
 
J Kiran
Posts: 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Renate Haeckler wrote:I wonder if they were both poisoned and she got the lesser dose and has been slowly recovering.



I do suspect some kind of poisoning, at least for the one that passed away. But I can't say that for certain, since when the other dog was showing signs of ill health, this one was "normal" when it came to food.

Renate Haeckler wrote: somehow knew and started howling.



I didn't mention it in this thread, but this one too squealed and howled the very next day after the other one passed away. That's only the second time I have seen her do that. The first time was when the 2 had their first experience of rain, around 2-3 months back and it got real cold and completely wet with no real place to take cover. It's still rainy season here but they learnt to find certain spots, unfrequented by humans, to take cover whenever it rains heavy.
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic