It has been said that we do not deserve the pure love that dogs give us because they love us more than they love themselves. Such selfless love has been evident in our pets through the excitement they show when we come back home even with empty hands, the wagging tails and endless kisses are proof that they miss us when we are away. Unfortunately, we are not in this world forever, and a time comes when we have to say goodbye to our friends and loved ones. Sometimes it is unexpected, and animals do not know how to interpret death. Therefore if you cannot wrap your head around how a dog waits at the hospital for three months after owner dies from coronavirus, here is the story which you can read more on Metro:
The unexpected loss
You can never compare the loyalty of a dog to that of a person, and when an elderly man was admitted in hospital due to the coronavirus, his canine, Xiao Bao, did not leave his side. The dog accompanied the patient to the hospital, but Xiao only comforted the sick man for the five days he was admitted in hospital before he died. Xiao did not understand why his owner was not coming back to get him so they could return home. Therefore, he waited in the lobby for over three months, and his only source of food was the little scraps that the hospital staff gave him.
Maybe wondering if the owner was lost in the hospital, Xian Bao roamed the hospital’s corridors, desperately searching for him. Eventually, the staff grew impatient with the dog since patients were complaining. They, therefore, took him far away and left him there, but Xiao still found his way back to Taikang Hospital, determined to find his owner. Nurses finally thought the only option was to have him taken in by an animal shelter, which would help him find another forever home.
The most popular dog known to wait for his master
Three months is a long time to wait for a person who will never show up, but while Xiao Bao’s patience is commendable, it cannot beat that of Hachiko, who waited for his dead owner for almost ten years. Hachiko was taken in as a pet by a professor who lectured at Tokyo Imperial University. The professor commuted to work each day, and Hachiko went to wait for him at the train station. Unfortunately, the professor died during one of his lectures, leaving Hachiko to continue waiting for him at the train station. Since he did not turn up, the dog kept going back to the spot he used to sit while waiting, for the next nine years, nine months and fifteen days. It is only his death that occurred on March 8, 1935, that prevented the dog from ever returning to the train station.
The dog’s faithfulness became so popular that Japan adopted it as a national symbol for loyalty while a sculptor sculpted the dog’s image, facilitating Hachiko’s rise to fame. After his death, a recording of Hachiko’s bark was found, and millions tuned into the radio station to listen to it in 1959. His remains are displayed at the National Museum of Nature and Science, Ueno, while the story became the subject for films and children’s books.
Do dogs understand death and grieve their owner’s passing?
Even with their high degree of intelligence, dogs are not capable of understanding the permanence of death. Still, the fact that they can understand what we say to them is an indication that they know what is happening around them hence the depression and sadness that follows after the death of a loved one. However, while most people interpret that a dog sitting by the gravesite of his owner is mourning him, the dog is in the real sense waiting for him to return.
Such evidence of failing to understand their owners are gone forever is further cemented by a dog who watched his owner fall into a pond. Although the man drowned, his dog waited by the pond with the man’s flashlight and flip-flops, not understanding that his human would never return. The same case happened to a dog who refused to leave the accident site of his owner. Although the crash occurred more than seven miles away from home, the canine still somehow found his way to the site and remained there, hoping that he would come back.
All the same, not all dogs are compassionate towards their owner. BuzzFeed News reported a woman who was so drunk that she lost consciousness, and her dog started biting her face. When the woman died, instead of being depressed and waiting for her to return, the dog started feasting on the dead woman’s body. However, the behavior had been attributed to instinct because once you do not respond to the many licks your dog gives you, it might be tempted to bite perhaps to check if you are still alive. If you don’t react, then the dog will continue searching for more responses by devouring your flesh.
Tips to help a dog cope with the death of a loved one
Unless the dog is close to the deceased, he will most likely continue with life as usual, but if they shared a close bond, the dog will cry, refuse to eat, and generally be sad. You can help the canine deal with the loss by maintaining a routine since disruption will only add to their stress. For this reason, mealtime should remain the same, and you can give treats to encourage feeding. Your dog may seek your attention since they are no longer getting it from the person they were used to; hence, instead of turning them away, you should cuddle with them for as long as it takes to revive their moods. Of course, that means you have to be very patient since, just like humans, one dog’s recovery time is not the same as another’s.