Animals Grieve Just Like Humans. Meet Bella.

Story and Photo by Lisa C. Oliver | Posted 05.26.2018

Bella lost her brother Argyris on the night of April 28th, 2018.  At eight years old, the  Neapolitan mastiffs were littermates, adopted together at 7 weeks of age.

Arygris was the alpha dog.  As such he would sometimes bully her when it came to getting attention from her human family.  She would get back at him and lay in his dog cage. This would cause him to whine (and, when I happen to be resting in bed, nudge me to get up and get her out of his space).  In the days/weeks following Argyris’ tragic death (they both escaped from the yard and Argyris was shot to death)  it seems that she only missed him slightly. Bella would lay in Argyris’ cage and raise her head to look over to her cage to see if he was there. Overall she seemed to enjoy all the love that she was denied when her brother was around.

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Argyris (Grey) and Bella (Tan) relaxing after a long walk.  Photo Credit: Cara Oliver

We waited a few weeks before we dismantled Argyris’ dog cage. We combined his bedding with Bella’s bedding in her dog cage so she could still smell her brother… Oddly enough, even though Argyris’ cage is not there anymore, Bella still lays in that spot.

All the calm ended about a week ago. It seems Bella realizes that her brother is gone forever. Whenever we leave her alone, she begins wailing and howling. For the last two days, even with someone in the room with Bella, she begins the wailing, howling, whining…It is absolutely heartbreaking.

For all the knowledge I have and experience I  gained talking to people about grief, I unable to comfort my Bella. That sucks.




Bella lying where her brother Argyris’ dog cage used to be.  Photo Credit: Lisa C. Oliver

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