Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What to do with Wilf ?

A prompt and turbaned Madame Bay burst through the kitchen doors on the dot of eight . Wilf ' Oh you poor,poor baby ' was immediately cocooned in a mass of chiffon and a cloud of Lily of the Valley . As this wall of human energy wrapped her arms around him he tried to look stoic but anyone who knows him would have recognized a look of pure unadulterated misery on his face.

As we're now at the height of tick season we set off in the car and drove into town. We parked in the local supermarket and took Wilf a long walk through the light industrial zone. What the walk lacked in charm it more than compensated for with wide tarmacadamed roads, concrete pavements, and a lack of areas where any form of threatening insect life might exist, let alone thrive. The neuroses of those who have just lost a close companion to piroplasmosis. Wilf loved it. Forget beautiful views and uninterrupted vistas - give him lamp posts and signage.

We did everything by the book - we let Wilf say goodbye to his brother and kept him close by us through the day - but he is very, very glum. He barks at the workmen and refuses their 'blandishments' - a most uncharacteristic sign from a dog who adores the illicit thrill of a jaffa cake. During the day he sits moping by the gate waiting for it to swing open and the impossible to happen. In the evenings he lies in the hall rushing to the front door whenever a car or tractor passes . All in all he's taking it badly. We've lost a companion but he's lost his little brother and his best friend. Protracted therapy of lamp posts and signage is called for.


  1. Spoil him a bit. Urban walkies sound like the way keep him occupied while he grieves. Hopefully, he will soon bounce back.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

  2. Poor Wilf, my heart goes out to him. Hopefully, time and yet more lampposts will prove good healers. (You can never have enough of lampposts, as Hamish would have said...)
    Best wishes,
    Gail and Bertie.

  3. Give Wilf a big pat from us, please!
    I can't tell you how much I admire your resolve to write amidst these conditions. The loss of your dear Digby has my own dial firmly set on 'empty'.
    Sending lots of love to you are being VERY brave.
    With love

  4. So sorry about Digby, it's so sad to lose a pet. Poor Wilf must be feeling very alone just now. Two such lovely looking dogs by the way.

  5. We say in our house that dogs consists mainly of love and waiting.... but they also adjust well to new conditions (think: re-homed dogs), even the older gents among them. Spoil him and provide as many lampposts as possible, dogs do not care for vistas and landscapes, unless there is something to sniff/meet/bite/chase there.

  6. Hello, we've learned about you from our friends at The Poupounette...we are so sorry about Digby and we hope that Wilf will soon find a bounce in his step again and reason to play like a silly boy. We think that you were very brave to do all that you are lovely humans. Purrs from Lautrec and Tiny in Prague (Weezdabadcats) and their human, Cat

  7. Thank you for your kind words regarding Jake on Ina Offret's blog. I have been following Digby for the past week and have said nightly prayers for him. Jake watched me shed many tears as I read about Digby's progress. I'm sorry you share the same devastating heartbreak that we have only just begun.

    Elizabeth Johnston

  8. Believe it or not, things will get better over time, not just for Wilf but for you too. I was very fortunate when Java had to leave us that my house was full of life with 9 puppies who were barely a week old. Lilly was the only one who showed that anything was different. Carrleigh was too busy with her babies and frankly Piper was glad to see him go.

    Spoil Wilf a bit, keep up the walks in town and one day you'll find him wanting to rug surf or play ball. Before long, when the time is right, you'll find your hearts desiring another dog and will bring a puppy into your life. And I can tell you by experience that puppy breath is a wonderful mender for broken hearts, but human and canine.

    Just keep doing what you're doing with Wilf. Give him some space and time time to grieve and before you know it, he'll be back to his old ways.

  9. Time is a healer, but little Wilf will take some time to become accustomed to his new life without his loved one. I know that after my Mama, Mist, went to heaven and then later, when my Daddy, Bud, followed her, I was very despondent for several weeks and had Grammy really worried for me, but she took me out and played with me and distracted me often, and I came to a place where I could go on with my life here. She actually got me a friend, and that helped me not be so lonely. OC, Matriarch of the Country Corgis

  10. It is interesting as dog's go through their own grieving process. Natasha took several weeks to fully rebound after the loss of Nikita, who essentially raised her from age 8 weeks. Lots of love Wilf!

  11. Poor Wilf! We are very sad for him. We know it must be very hard. Maybe he just needs a little time... He is in our thoughts.
    ~Milly and Shelby

  12. We saw similar reactions from Phantom when we lost Dakota. It all takes time, Wilf is grieving too. Lots of hugs headed your way for you and for Wilf.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  13. So sad to hear about Digby. Please give Wilf a hug all the way from South Africa.

  14. Just like us it will take him some time.....we all need to grieve.....I wish I could give you all a big hug.....

  15. I'm reminded of those poignant stories of a dog in Japan who went every day to the place where he would meet his master, long after the master was gone.

    The grief of a dog is heart-breaking too because we have no way of explaining to him what has happened.

    With your loving care and lots of lampposts, I know Wilf too will heal. In the meantime, please share our cuddles and scritches with him.

    And know that I've been sharing your "neurosis" -- and look suspiciously at every tree trunk and blade of grass or fern that our Jakey or Just Harry rub against on our walks.

    xxx Joan and the Barkalots

  16. Big hugs and belly rubs for Wilf. Losing his brother must be so confusing for him. I think it will be good therapy for the both of you to spoil Wilf, and will be a good distraction for him as well.

  17. Our boy Hawk took Treat's passing very hard, as well. Actually, all three of the dogs did, but he was especially heartbroken. It was difficult for me to watch him suffer through it, because I was grieving for her myself. After about a week, I finally felt the sense that he wouldn't grieve himself to death and he did start to eat again. He didn't really perk up much before Bunny came home, though. I guess he felt he needed to pull himself up by the bootstraps, so to speak, and show the new girl the ropes. Hopefully in a few days, Wilf will start to feel more himself. Perhaps if he got a chance to get a little nip in at Madame Bay...

  18. Yes, dogs can experience depression, so why not grief? And I know that a lot of people, possibly you as well, are against the use of pesticides but I would be inclined to have my whole yard sprayed by an exterminator. That may be going overboard, but I have my neuroses, too, and can be petty protective of my loved ones. Best wishes on staying well.


  19. Wilf is feeling the Loss of his little brother & it will take some time for him to stop looking...

    Lots of walks among the lamp posts will help & lots of pats on the head & scratches on the ears will help alot...It will help you, too...

    Take Care of Wilf & Yourselves...

    Much Love,
    Abby & her Mom xxxxxxoooooo

  20. Way to go, Wilf! You'll be okay.

  21. Hugs to Wilf. Hoping the beautiful Spring weather will cheer him up.
    Cat Mandu

  22. Our heart goes out to Wilf. He definitely will miss digby the most. Who can make him understand how, why? He will be waiting...can you consider getting him a little brother?Maybe it will help him and you heal faster.

    we who have known Digby from afar, and that tto for such a short time miss him so much and weep for him. What You, Font and Wilf are going through must be so difficult.

    With love,
    Ginger, Buddy n Family

  23. We think Digby is there with you and Wilf knows - he just doesn't understand why you can't see him too

    Love him and let him grieve.

    Let Wilf guide you he'll take you with him.

    Holding tight - thoughts & heart & prayers

  24. I definitely believe that dogs experience grief. Perhaps not in the same way we do, but in their own special way. And just as we need time to grieve, so do they. Just be gentle with him and with each other. Let yourselves cry and let Wilf say goodbye to his brother in the way only he can. Do just what you're doing. Give him sunshine, walks, play, cuddles...and time.

    Please give him extra cuddles from Mayzie and me.

    Amber - Mayzie's mom

  25. One day at a time. When two of my dogs crossed together, my surviving dog laid in the hallway just by the bedroom door for several nights waiting for them to come to bed. It was heartbreaking and we felt helpless. Time and lots of attention to Wilf...hopefully a bite of Jaffa cake some time..... our hearts are with you. Thank you for your kind comment about my friend Elizabeth's dog, Jake, who left us abruptly on Tuesday. xoxoxo

  26. We can only add to what others have said. Just as it will take you and the "font" time to grieve, so will it be with Wilf.
    Time is the only healer of a wound this deep. In the meantime you are doing the best thing for Wilf. Walks, attention, and allowing him his own kind of grief. It is hard to watch one dog grieve for another, but it does get better.
    We wish we could give all of you a hug. The wound you three share is very fresh and raw. (I would be absolutely paranoid regarding ticks and bugs in general as well!)
    Perhaps when y'all are feeling up to it, he would like to chase the ball?
    Y'all remain in our hearts and our prayers.

  27. I just found your blog thanks to From The House of Edward, but am so sorry for your loss. My heart breaks for you. I follow the blog Bedlam Farm and he has several pieces on grief and in fact is writing a book on it. I thought it might be helpful for you to take a look at those pieces. I will be a regular reader now. I also have followed the Pet Psychic who lives in Houston and she said that when our pets pass they are in heaven waiting for us and when we arrive they all come bounding to great us. what a wonderful thought of heaven!

  28. We would be glad to send you our sister Dottie for Wilf to have. She's blind and deaf and barks at 3am in the morning. We won't miss her a bit and maybe Wilf could take her for a walk in town and lose her for us. We are willing to pay for the freight to get her to France. Call us. We're desperate. We will send treats as well.

    Love, Dozer and Cooper

    PS: Mum says things will get better.

  29. The others in the pack 'know' -

    Often before 'we' do - I hold that their sense of smell tips them off prior to our realisation -

    In time, all of you will heal - the holes in all of your hearts will show some scar tissue but they will strenghten -

    Perhaps at some point Digby will deem it is time for Wilf to have a new friend and send him/her your way!

    Khyra's Mom

  30. Oh Wilf, my thoughts and prayers go out to you that you will soon find peace. I'm so terribly sorry about your brother, this must be a hard time for you and your family. Smile and laugh at the memories. Talk about Digby often.

    Wags and woofs,
    Mack and Mia

  31. thats so sad. Poor Wilf!
    Big hugs and pats and scratches for him!
    Sending your our love from Seattle!

  32. I have worried about Wilf almost as much as Digby. I have no experience in helping a dog get past grief, and I can imagine it is heartbreaking to watch. With Edward and Apple, this is the first time we've had two dogs at once. Indeed, we adopted Apple because we could easily see that Edward wanted, and needed, a companion. I have thought often how difficult it will be when one departs before the other.

    My prayers are with you and with Wilf. Keep him close.

  33. poor Wilf. lots of walks will help keep him occupied. we wish you all well.

  34. Monte lost his brother to an accident, he was hit by a car. It was sudden and unchangeable, Monte was there. It broke our hearts to have to bury our shy Ripken, Monte was there. We buried Ripken and saw Monte age overnight. He was the big brother, always making sure his little brother went with him. After that happened the first thing Monte did every morning when we let him out was to go pee on the grave. we assume it was a protection gesture or a hello. He saw us bury him. We showered him with love, kissed him extra, and then we eventually got Harley. We mourned for over a month crying at the drop of a hat, literally a wreck. But he took it way worse.... Then Harley came along and he was better, he even doted on her. It's been 6/7 yrs now and he is the same old dog. We aren't sure if he still remembers since we have no access to where Ripken is buried we can never test the theory. Love Wilf, keep showing him he makes your world go around. And give him extra kisses from us, we understand what he is going through.

  35. as you said, wilf lost his little brother and best friend. he is no doubt confused and sad, and it will take time to heal his sorrow. keep him close and like others have said, spoil him rotten. please give him a big hug for me!

    the booker man and asa's mama

  36. Ahh, your grief must be compounded, experiencing Wilf's confusion and sadness. Spoiling and extra treats are definitely in order. And I agree with The Rocky Creek Scotties, you may want to consider bringing in a puppy for Wilf. I've seen countless examples where an older dog gets a new lease on life with a youngster in the home. When my female cat Moki was getting on in years, I went to pick out a kitten companion for her. I'd planned on getting another female, but the breeder said "Think about it -if you were an older lady, would you rather a pretty young girl moved in or a handsome young male?" Point taken. I got Mica and 20 years later, he's still a handsome fellow.

  37. Poor, dear Wilf. If the concrete jungle acts as a palliative for now ( for both him and for your ease about ticks as well) then that sounds like a very good thing to do. Give him huge hugs and licks and massages for me. We feel for you and your hooman family as well and hope you are managing okay. All of us here thought of you so much these past days - weeks.
    Hugs xoxoxoxo

  38. I think you are doing everything you can for Wilf. Unfortunatly he is going to have a real rough ride for a while but he will adapt, they always do. Plenty of fuss, treats and long walks I'm sure will help both him and you. Sue x

  39. Wilf definitely needs some time to grieve. When my father died my parents' dog grieved for a long while (she and my Dad were very tight). I don't believe she has ever been fully the same since. Wilf may need to adjust to a new normal, as we humans do when we lose a loved one. Please give Wilf a big hug from me. ♥

  40. Angus, you've gotten some good advice and I know anything that I will say will just echo the sentiments of many of the other comments. Having had my share of loses, I know that when some of our pups have left us, we've had the same thing happen. One dog in particular was very close to all of them--He was the "caretaker" of the group, and his loss really put our pack out of sorts. I just know that we kept things positive, and stuck to our routine the best we could. Eventually we were all okay...Time doesn't always heal all wounds, but it can ease the pain that's being felt.

  41. Not thinking, I once sold a young horse whom my older Thoroughbred had "raised" since a weanling. Oh, animal grief! Luke stood at the back gate looking for Dancer all day :(. I ended up buying him a pet in the form of a very nice Appaloosa cross mare. Yes, it will take time and patience for you all to grieve - God bless the walks in town.

  42. It breaks my heart to hear how glum Wilf is. The worst part is you can try and try to explain it to him but he'll never understand. Please give him a big hug for me. And then a big one to yourselves!

  43. Poor, Wilf. We think he needs time. He's obviously missing his brother a great deal.

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  44. It will be like this for a while - the looking and the waiting and the watching. How often do we, as humans, hear a familiar sound or whiff a familiar odor and our hearts are carried back - to a time long ago? Sweet Wilf is no different than we are when we lose someone or something - we think we see it or hear it or feel it only to be reminded that it's gone...

    After a while he'll look less to the past and will trot at your side into the future. It may take a while but it will happen - quietly, gently and soulfully.

  45. After Digby crossed over we continued to include Wilf and your family in our thoughts and prayers. As I'm sure you will, continue to spoil Wilf and shower him with love. It will do you both good! And when the time is right, you might find that a companion for Wilf is something he would relish. You'll know....


  46. I know how you feel. I still look for Sharkie after our accident and he died. I still expect him to come roaring around the corner to play. It will get better with time. Even the furry kids grieve for the loss of a family member or friend. Our thoughts are with you

  47. time will help wilf it helped me when i lost bodie cat before wee mollie dog came to live with us - but it did take ages before i lost that sad sack look... plus it seems madame bay has taken on the mission of cheering wilf up arf arf... oooo jaffa cakes we haven't heard of those foodibles... loves and licks doyle

  48. Poor Wilf, this will be as much an adjustment for him as you...maybe more.


  49. Its going to take a lot of time and a lot of love.. Poor Wilf will be so lost..

  50. At one point I had 2 Goldens a mother and daughter. In 9+ years they had never been apart. We lost the mom very suddenly. It took her daughter a couple weeks to come around but she did. Mostly we just keep her close and loved her! Wilf and you will come around too!


    Mr. Nubbin's Mom

  51. My prayers and thoughts are with You and Wilf.

  52. Oh dear sweet's just so very hard...

    Perhaps the Airechicks are right....he can "see" Digby and can't figure out why you can't...

    As for your last post with the donkey and the tiles and the storm?

    Thank you so much for sharing that...

    It's faith...and grace.

    And love.

    Scruffy, Lacie and Stanley

  53. Hi, it's me Mack. When my big sister had to move away, I refused to eat;and, the only way I would eat was when Mommy hand feed me. It was like that for three months. I ate when I was a puppy, as Sylvie scared me away from my food. It helped when Sally Ann came, but I still miss her. Things got better, and I know things will be better.
    Eskie hugs,

  54. We are doing the same thing with Bonnie, taking her on walks where Puffy wouldn't normally go; givng her new experiences seems to cheer her up. At home she's off her feed and very clingy. Keep up the walks in different places and build new memories for all of you.

    Pam, Bonnie's support staff

  55. Comfort each will help heal your heart and Wilf's...turn to all of the blogging community as well..whatever it will take to heal..whatever feels right to you all...sending lots of love your way!
    Nancy and Angus