Dog walking after death of companion dog

Hi, I am on a 6 week sit of two labs. During week one I had to take one of the dogs to be euthanized. This has been discussed as a possibility though none of us had thought really it would happen while they were gone.
The lab who is still here will not walk without her sister. She is 9 and they have been together since puppies. She is ok getting in the car and going to a park or the ocean. Today I started working on trying to get her to walk down the street by taking treats with me…. We got a little further than normal.
Once, a few days after the death, I was able to get her 1/4 mile away by running. That doesn’t work now. I feel like it’s going to take time…. Should I even bother trying with the walking and treats or just keep taking her in car (I don’t mind). Owners get back nov6. Has anyone gone through this death of a dog sibling? I am giving her so much love and she is doing great otherwise and loves her walks and exercises —- just not on the street outside the house. Thanks much.


Oh wow- That must be a challenging, and distressing, Sit experience to go through. Poor doggy to lose her sister… but kudos to you for giving so much love and support to her. You have a big heart :heart:


Hello @KarenM when I read your post my heart went out to you as I have been through losing a pet I was caring for, it is just like saying goodbye to our own.

Thank you for being kind, compassionate, caring and carrying out the pet parents/owners wishes, it could not have been easy to have to help their pet family member transition, support them and continue caring for their other Lab, who is obviously missing her sister, you are incredibly brave, they are so fortunate to have you.

I didn’t have another pet to support when I went through what was an incredibly sad and emotional time, just as you are experiencing. There is much advice available this article may help and of course the ones who know their pet the best is their own family who I’m sure are helping as best they can while dealing with their own grief.

If they have a good relationship with their vet they will also be able to help, especially if they know/knew the dogs really well. Perhaps suggest this if you feel it would help both of you, as you are going through this together.

I am also going to Direct Message you with some additional information which I hope you will find helpful.

You are not alone, we are a community and please reach out either publicly or privately and we will be there for you.

Thank you again.


Thanks. I thought it would be easier since it’s not “my dog” - guess what. It’s just as hard. But I’m glad it was me. I have sat these dogs before for about 12 days in July and now they are like my own and I have a serious bond with the family also.
My gut says to let the dog do what is comfortable to her, so maybe I’ll try a few more times walking her but I can understand why it’s so confusing and she doesn’t want to walk down the street without her sister. Dogs are so interesting in sometimes you have to trick them a little to get them to the fun place and then they are fine.
I picked up the ashes yesterday and that was actually harder also than I thought it would be. It will be hard for me to leave this one when the time comes!


I think you are right. Let the dog adjust in her own way, and on her own time. Our girl changed her behavior also, after we lost her sister. I think it took her two months in total, and some of her behaviors were changed completely afterwards (she was then an only dog and relished the total attention). Be kind to yourself as well. Even though you didn’t own this pup, she clearly owned a piece of your heart and you are now going through grieving also.


What a sad time for everyone involved. It’s only my personal feeling as a dog owner in the past but as you are a sitter I would cease the encouragements for street walking & go with what the dog is happy with. The owners can develop a long-term plan for the situation, hopefully with professional advice. For now, treating the sad doggie extra kindly is enough, I think.


Thanks much for all the advice. We will keep going to the swimming spots and the beautiful park. And car rides :smiley: