When companion animals grieve
They feel the loss too
Mo lived at home with us in her twilight years, she had no equine companion, we were her herd and we grieved for our loss. Many horses, like us, also appear to grieve for their companions......
Our beautiful little dog Tilly, did seem to be different after we lost Mo. I can never be sure if it was to do with her missing Mo or if it was related to my grief around her. What I do wish though, was that we had taken her to see Mo just before she died, and after, so that she could take in what had happened.
There isn’t too much helpful information out there on the subject of horses grieving, not what I could find anyway, but what there is suggests that what they might experience is more the separation anxiety that they might experience if there pasture mate was taken away rather than the feeling of loss that we feel. I don’t know the answer to that, I might disagree but the result is still the same, they might suffer.
There are many suggestions that it helps horses process the death of their companion if they can spend some time with the body afterwards. The main thing I have read about horses grieving for another is that they may benefit from more human time being spent with them. For example just standing gently talking, grazing in hand, gentle grooming. For a horse left on its own, there is the clear option to find a new field buddy, but in some cases this doesn’t work. Some owners feel that the best thing to do, is to have pair bonded companions go from this world into the next together. Of course, there are going to be many, many people who simply can’t understand this but it really is something that, that particular owner knows to be the right thing for the horse which would be without its lifelong companion. It would be nice if those owners weren’t judged so harshly as often is the case.
I did find two interesting and seemingly helpful website on this. To find out more, please click on the links below.