Who moved my bone? Moving from Idaho to Seattle

In August of 2004 we moved from our home of 8 years, back to the Seattle area. Andi's Mom was sick and we missed family, friends and the excitement of the big city. Plus, there were many more career opportunities for Andi and I. Before we were able to find a house to buy, Cosmo and Devo endured living in our 5th wheel trailer at an RV park for 2 weeks, then a small apartment in Shoreline. Their whole lifestyle was uprooted and changed beyond recognition. Yes, somebody moved their bone! Surprisingly, they adapted quickly and never missed a beat, staying alone during the days while loving their morning walks and their playtime in the evenings.

Finally in March of 2005 we bought a house in north Shoreline. It had a small backyard and I installed a dog door to give the goldies the freedom to come and go. The minute it was installed, Devo would blast in and out much to his delight. This was the winter of Cosmo's life and she was a little "Grandma dumb dog" about it. With Devo now leading the way, she eventually understood how this new contraption worked. This was out of character for Cosmo. She was always a bright, intelligent dog who performed any task or trick quickly, but with a more subtle enthusiasm than Devo. It became obvious that the torch had been passed. Devo was now Cosmo's rock and was there for her until the end. They would still occasionally play and wrestle, mostly as a sign of affection. Cosmo passed in Feb. of 2006 at the ripe old age of 15. Devo would show the effects of losing his rock in a most unusual way.

Devo went through some subtle changes as the result of losing his companion sister dog. We didn’t think about allowing Devo to somehow understand the fact that when Cosmo left that day, she was not coming back. When Cosmo lost Sunny, it pretty much happened the same way, but she didn’t display any behavior changes as the result of Sunny being gone. I have since read about different techniques of allowing the pack dogs to sniff the departed to comprehend the loss in order to allow grieving etc. Of course, this technique is impractical when the dog is sick and euthanasia is performed at the vet’s office, but the logic of it seems proper. Dogs, like people, don’t always deal with their loss in a predictable way.

When Devo left Idaho and came to Seattle, he became a much shyer dog around his own kind. He ignored or avoided every other dog except Cosmo. After Cosmo was gone he withdrew completely to the comfort of his pack and never let another dog into his world. He was never unfriendly, just conveniently aloof. He wanted nothing to do with stupid doggy games. He appreciated other balanced dogs and would get along just fine, but he’d climb up into any lap to avoid pushy, dominant dogs when we visited friends or family. This was not the North Idaho Devo we knew who was the life of the party and played until he dropped with his pack. I will take some of the blame here. I have protected Devo and Cosmo from many mean, aggressive dogs most of their life. Cosmo had Sunny to protect her when she was young, but I assumed that role after Sunny. Devo has always looked to his Dad, even when he was so sick, his pleading eyes asking why I couldn’t fix this for him. God knows I tried.

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