I am not at all surprised to know that dogs grieve. Cali certainly went through her own grief process, in addition to being very helpful and comforting to me.
The first day I went to work after Jana died was the Monday after Thanksgiving. Deni and Koala left very early that morning. Cali and I went through our morning routine of breakfast, walk to the park, etc. Then I got dressed for work, and it was time to leave. Cali looked so lost and forlorn.
Her wonderful dog walker came in a few hours later. When I got home, I found the saddest note ever. Cali had greeted Stephanie at the door, then walked between the nice bed (the one in the living room, where Jana spent much of her time) and the door, crying. For several minutes. They both ended up sitting on the floor, crying. Then they went for a walk.
Despite her grief, Cali still wanted to play ball and go for walks. But she was quieter than usual and less silly. She put herself to bed really early. She sighed a lot and looked sad. I had to wake her up in the mornings, and she was clingy. She wanted to cuddle, even more than usual. That was fine with me.
By about a week after Jana’s death, though, I saw improvement. She woke up one morning on her own, went to find a toy, and came to get me up, wriggling and wagging. Cali was back.
Since that morning, she’s been more peppy and silly, though still very attentive and cuddly. She’s also got some big shoes to fill. She is responsible for delivering both boots to me in preparation for our morning walk, for example. (She also happily devours both cookies as payment.) She is the sole newspaper girl now, a job she argued for, tried to seize by force … and now really, really wishes she could share with her sister.
She’s been promoted to eating from the big food bowl on the raised stand, but it’s well beyond her ability to remove the bowl from the stand and bring it to me, as Jana did. She made it look so easy, Cali says, but it’s so hard! We’re working on that.
She’s seeing some benefits to only doghood, too. For instance, when we have eggs for breakfast, she no longer has to share the dog portion with anyone else. We can do longer walks and hikes than Jana was able to do. But mostly, we just miss Jana.