Dogs feel grief when people around them pass away, just like it happens to us humans. A wolfdog that was crying and looking overall devastated for the loss of someone dear to him was caught on video and went viral.
Published on April 14, 2013, by user “Sarah and the Wolves,” the 9-seconds-long footage of the grieving wolfdog mourning over the grave of his owner’s grandmother has been viewed by more than 9 million people over the years.
The uploader was also the dog’s owner, as she writes in the video description, where she also explains that her pet, named Wiley, served as a therapy animal for war veterans, something that takes great empathy towards humans.
“We miss her too,” Sarah can be heard telling the dog from behind the camera, as Wiley is seen breathing heavily as if he was undergoing a terrible pain. Read more on our Twitter account @amomama_usa
According to Daily Mail, the video was also shared in the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center’s website, a specialized center for rescued wolfdogs and horses, that offers several programs to help animals and the community.
“Wolves and Warriors” is one of the better-known programs of the shelter, located in Ventura County, California.
The program has its own Animal Planet show, and according to the LARC website, it consists of veterans who rescue dogs and interact with them as a way to heal from war trauma. Wiley is one of the dogs in the program.
“I believe your wolf is grieving. Once science advances enough for humans to understand wolves and dogs better, I believe that it will prove dogs and wolves have the same complex emotions and bonds that humans have.”
-“TheBelleswan,” YouTube, 2017.
Source: Youtube/Sarah and the Wolves
While many comments on YouTube are positive and supportive for the dog owners, some people denied that dogs could actually grieve or understand death, which resulted in a heated debate.
Sarah had something to say about this, and she made an edit in the video description to reply to all those that believed that she was only projecting her own emotions on Wiley.
“I may be anthropomorphizing his actions but it’s how I’m choosing to deal with loss, so deal with it,” she wrote.
Beyond the controversy, there are many specialized websites about animal care that offer guidance to deal with a dog’s feelings following the loss of one of its persons.
Daily Puppy recommends not treating the grieving dog any different, because what the animal needs is to see that life goes on as normal and sadness is not going to stop it.
Physical activity is of great help for these situations, as it forces the dog to move on, and also stimulates the release of hormones that make the animal feel better. Apart from that, only time will help it recover.
Dogs can become extremely attached to their human families, and they will turn to them when in emotional need to receive love and support. For those still skeptical about dogs’s feelings, we bring you a couple of examples.
Lucy, a Golden Retriever, apparently gets very anxious when she has to ride in a car, and the only way for her to cope with this is by sitting in the front seat next to her owner and “holding” his hand.
Carissa Germany is the mother of Lucy’s owner, and she shared the dogs need for human contact and affection as her way to deal with stress in a series of Facebook posts after catching Lucy reaching for her owner’s hand on video.
Druzhok is a Caucasian Shepherd that belongs to a Russian family, and he made the news after a flood hit the neighborhood where he and his people lived.
During the emergency, the family had to be evacuated, and they were sheltered in some relatives’s apartment, where Druzhok was not allowed to stay indoors. After spending three days like this, the dog disappeared.
Surprisingly, the dog turned out to be standing in front of the submerged family home, with half his body under the water. He felt it was his duty to protect the home from any intruders.
It later surfaced that Druzhok refused to be rescued by strangers, and he only moved when his owners appeared onboard of an inflatable boat.