If anyone does take the time to read this, unless you are a dog lover then this will probably all appear to be a load of old tosh. There are many of us however that actually take the time to study our dogs in the hope of understanding them a little better. The following are some of my observations of my own remaining hound Max, following the recent loss of my very special and beautiful girl Bobbie Bobs. I once had a girlfriend who referred to my guys as cattle, and to be fair they are big clumsy and powerful creatures and so patience and understanding is a real priority with these guys. Bobbie as you may already know from my previous blog died on 17 May 2012 from gastric torsion aged five. I had heard that by taking any remaining dogs to see them after they had just died would to some extent bring closure for them, as well as the owner. Max and I said our very tearful (well tearful on my part) goodbyes. Max had a couple of gentle and tentative sniffs of Bobbie's head, and although there was blood on the floor which ordinarily he would have licked, he gave it more of a wide berth only giving it a cursory sniff.
We left for home and I explained to a very good friend what had happened and her parting words were 'Keep a close eye on Max'. I did understand her concern, which for me is somewhat surprising as I have a tendency to be a little dense on subtleties. Anyway the first thing I noticed was that Max set up camp at the foot of the sofa Bobbie always slept on. He would often tease her by getting a little close and she would grumble and growl at him, sometimes in all seriousness and other times with her tail wagging and almost daring him to get closer. For the last two weeks he has barely moved from the front of the sofa, never attempting to get up and so the hole Bobbie has left in our lives, Max does not appear to want to invade that space. I know this all seems a little cuckoo but many dog lovers will tell many similar stories. With the back door left open I could pretty much guarantee within ten minutes or so that Max would warn Bobs there was something to be barked at or chased, and the two of them would bark and howl melodiously almost just for the sake of it. Max many times would go jumping at the fences, almost for the sheer hell of it.
Well it'll be two weeks on 31 May, and so far Max has barely lifted his head in interest at anything and neither has he barked at anything. Yes he still goes swimming in the Thames although without his sparring partner it just doesn't seem the same. Max has always been first out the gate straining at the lead to go tearing around the Ham Lands although three days after the loss of Bobs, off lead I walked him out for his morning trot. He stopped at the paths edge with the Ham Lands which is literally only five steps from our front door. He sat for a moment and so I called him. With no fuss or drama, he turned and wandered back to the house.
Max was not ill, but I strongly believe, suffering a dog's version of depression as he has lost his best canine friend. Finally, as just about most bloodhound owners will tell you, be careful when walking them off lead as they will get a scent and be off. For this very reason I used to alternate lead walking Bobs and Max as one would certainly set the other off. Well for the last 10 days Max has been off lead for the most part and has barely moved from my side or more commonly staying even a couple of steps behind. Yes he has a caught the odd scent but does not pursue it with the same gusto he ordinarily would. On recommendation I am starting him on Ignatia. I am not a fan of drugs for humans or animals, however this is homeopathic and so I am assured harmless. If it doesn't work then nothing ventured nothing gained.
Okay it could well be he is picking up on my emotions and yes that is very possible, but I genuinely believe he is going through the dog version of grief, how long this will last I have no idea, but it is really sad to see, bless the big old lug.