As a school requirement, many people have read “Where the Red Fern Grows.” For those of you who haven’t this is a spoiler alert. In the book a boy obtains two dogs. At the end, one of the dogs dies and the other one refuses to eat because it is so sad the other one died. Some may think that mourning the death of a loved one by a dog was simply a literary device contrived to make the reader feel a sad emotion and that animals do not mourn their dead in reality. This is not true. Animals are capable of feeling emotion and mourn their dead much like humans do.
Personal Experience With Mourning Dog
In the instance of dogs, I have experienced the mourning of a dog about the death of a fellow dog. I had a big black dog named Cinder who was very friendly and wanted a companion. A yellow mutt would come around our house, and Cinder would save half of her food for him because she liked him so much. Eventually, Dexter (the yellow mutt,) became a member of our family. About a year later Cinder died of a blood disease and Dexter was left without her. He became aggressive to other dogs, yet was always looking for Cinder. Every time there were dog tracks to be seen he would follow them, hoping to find Cinder at the end.
Other Animals Mourning
It is not only dogs that mourn there dead, but other animals too. Recently a friend told me about her experience with a deer dying on her property. The deer had wandered from yard to yard, finally deciding to die in my friend’s yard. She believes it was probably hit by a vehicle. Not long after the deer died, a herd of deer bounded into her yard and began studying it. They gathered together and seemed to be holding a vigil for their lost comrade. Deer feel grief too. Other animals also mourn their loved ones. I performed an internet search on mourning animals and found story after story about elephants holding funerals for their dead. Elephants weren’t the only animals listed, showing that grief passes many domains of the living kingdom.
Animals Mourning Their Owners
So far we have talked about animals mourning other animals, but they mourn their human owners too. The movie “Hachi” is about a dog who waits at the place his owner used to go before he died. Even though the owner is dead, the dog hopes that he will see him again. The fact that there is a movie about this subject shows that animals really do care for their humans. In another real-life instance of grief over the loss of owners; my boyfriends dog died soon after his family moved away. My boyfriend and his family didn’t die, but they were gone from their pet’s life, leaving a hole of abandonment like actual death does. No creature likes to lose the ones they love.
Animals can mourn their dead by letting themselves go, holding vigils, and by looking for their loved ones even after they have passed. These facts show that animals have feelings, and experience grief just like humans do.