Monday, April 19, 2010


Do pets know when their masters have died? Do they sense when someone who had been taking care of them is not coming back?

I'm not so sure that your pet snake or goldfish is affected when one owner leaves and another takes his place. As long as they are fed, they seem to hold up quite well emotionally. But what about your cat, or your dog? Do they feel something if you, their loving owner, has been away for a long time? Do they sense the fact that you will not be coming back?

Cats are pretty independent and very territorial. Any cat I've ever had was content to be petted by strangers, fed by strangers, and seemed very happy as long as she was paid any attention at all. As independent as they like people to think that they are, cats really do need "people attention". I'm just not sure they are especially sensitive as to who gives them that attention. All the cats I have ever taken care of were highly and willingly adoptable, and most thrived on the attention of my friends, neighbors and passersby.

Dogs on the other hand are a different story. Their loyalty is definitely with with their masters, not to the place in which they live.

Tim's dog, Truff, has been left by Tim before, when Tim went on vacations. Truff is an older dog who has difficulty walking. Tim has been his master for a very long time. Tim's son Greg or the next-door neighbors or friends have taken care of Truff when Tim went away before. Tim has only been "gone" for two weeks so far. But I sense that Truff knows something is different this time, even it he isn't quite sure of what is going on. I have been over to the house several times since Tim died, mostly to prune flowers or bushes that needed a little bit of TLC before Tim's family arrives from the mid-west later this week. The dog seems to sense that something is amiss, that something is different his time, as he goes in and out and in and out the door, walking around and around the yard, as if looking for a missing toy or bone.

I think Truff is missing Tim, the one steady person who was always there throughout his short dog life. Do dogs "know"? I think they do.

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