Helping our B cope with the loss of his littermate

Hi everyone
Just looking for suggestions on how we can help our Max cope with the loss of his brother Jimmy on 12-31-18.
They had a very tight bond and had rarely been separated over their six years together.
Thankfully Max just started eating on his own without prompting today.
The issue I am concerned about is what happens when my partner and I go back to work on 01.07.19?
We went grocery shopping and crated Max (he is trained) while we were out. We were gone about 45 minutes and when I checked on him on camera he was screaming/howling with the saddest tone. It was not a ‘I’m mad I’m in here’ cry. It was a ‘everyone left me alone’ cry.
We don’t make a big deal about leaving the house. We don’t reinforce bad behavior with him either.
I’m trying to help him get through this in a healthy manner. Any suggestions are appreciated!!!

We lost Star baby October 2. Our almost 2 year old boy, TJ, seemed to have adjusted to her loss. We have a little sister, Joy, arriving around Valentines Day. We happened upon Star’s leather collar buried in a drawer in December 30. TJ reacted immediately as soon as he smelled her collar. I know this doesn’t answer your question, but our basenjis feel the loss of their pack members. Only solution I have found is to bring in a new companion. It helps if they are close in age.

Thank you for sharing!! I’m excited for you guys 🙂
At least TJ can help raise your new girl-

We are probably not going to get another B anytime soon. We have to pay off thousands in vet bills first.
When that day comes I will post a pic of the new addition

Do you have Jimmy's collar still, or a blanket he used? Anything with his smell still on it? If so, give them to Max, especially when you have him in his crate. Hopefully it will comfort him some. Give him lots of love and attention. He's grieving and doesn't understand why Jimmy is not there any longer. Try leaving a radio on, to soft music. I leave radio on the kLove (its a modern Christian radio station). I listen to it in my car, so I know what my dogs are hearing. I know they sleep most of the time, but at times when they do wake, they hear talking or music. Did he get to smell Jimmy's body by any chance, after he had passed?

I've got the same situation. Now my boy is left alone he no longer appears to be grieving but won't be left on his own now. We are currently only leaving him for 10 minutes or so as long as one of us can hear him and get back if need be. We'll increase the time until we're able to leave him for the necessary period. We intend to use the same routine as when his sister was alive.

Whenever we leave, we keep the tv or music going so that they never really feel like we left. They are so used to us coming and going for shorter spells or just going outside to take care of outside chores that they don't get worked up when we go. Of course, we do have quite a few in the house, so they do have company. Even those that have had separation issues in other homes where they have had companions do well here, though, perhaps because we are in and out so frequently. Since you only have a day to come up with a solution, you won't be able to 'practice' the frequent going and coming that we do.
For some, the tv playing sitcom shows may make them feel like family is still 'living around them' even when they are left alone. A quick solution may be doggy daycare until you have more time to do the frequent going and coming practice. You can also set up to have a two-way communication with him instead of just a camera check. I've used Skype and FaceTime to do this. Just hearing our casual talking on FT seems to make a difference for some who didn't stir for hours until the FT audio was muted. There are also remote controlled treat dispensers so they can really think you are magic and always with them even when they can't smell you.
Hope you and Max find a solution that works!

You can definitely end up with separation anxiety in this type of situation. A dog that is used to company may not adjust well to being left alone. My Perry was crate trained but always had canine company at his breeder's. Staying alone in a crate at a new location caused him extreme anxiety which was only cured when we transitioned to leaving him loose in the house. Fortunately he turned out to be the most reliable Basenji I have ever had!

@khaipan I too am waiting as I have a Senior Cat that is a Killer. I will not be able to bring a new Pup until she passes. I keep her because I refuse to destroy a healthy animal even though she killed my fave cat of all time.

I am glad that B owners share similar separation stories. These Dogs grieve.

A

Its a difficult one - and a situation I am dreading as my two are now 13 and nearly 11. And extremely close. When Lovebird was run over, Donner never did get over it completely. He was pack alpha but ruled from a distance. He never joined in with the others in games or hunts, he was and remained a loner for the next 12 years. They were two when she was killed.

Since then the pack has grieved whenever Rainbow Bridge time called for one of their number but because they were always a pack - they helped each other get over their loss. Being down to the smallest pack I've ever had is going to present problems with the one who is left, I'm sure.

A new puppy - fast - might be a solution.

My condolences to those who recently lost furkids.

I am guessing that KhaiPan would not be interested in a puppy because of being at work all day. Doggie daycare is a good idea, but costly (also, you have to be careful it is a good fit for Max) . Another thought would be to consider adopting an older (tolerant) adult dog (of any breed) from a shelter or rescue group to keep Max company.

I hope he's okay. So sorry for your loss.

Sometimes their grief is being fed by yours. Work on giving him a lot more attention, exercise, learning new tricks. Basically, really truly tire him out the night before and the morning prior to leaving. If possible, try to arrange so that your and/or your partner can run home for a quick lunch/play time. Get the 2 way communications devices so you can see each other and talk to him.

I understand the costs. I had to wait after my beloved Sayblee died to get another basenji. So much expense trying to save her that it simply wasn't responsible to take on a new dog yet. A blanket or something with the smells... or wrap a new blanket around some of Jimmy's toys so that it gets the smell. Leaving that in the crate may help.

I am sorry for your loss, made doubly hard by poor Max's grief. He most certainly can feel you are grieving, but playing UP, higher happy tone, and more attention should help.

Thank you sooo much for the suggestions everyone 🙂
Right now my partner leaves for work at 10-ish and I’m out the door by 630am. Max eats and walks before I leave and then sleeps by my partner until he’s out the door.
He made it 2 hours in his crate today before starting to cry...I did obtain approval to bring him with me to work so, I’m thinking that if I increase the time he is alone/in his crate (or let him roam free like usual) by a half hour each day it might help- then I come home to pick him up and walk back to work with him for an hour or two and walk home around 330/4pm.
We can deal with separation anxiety at any point in time but, right now I want him to know he isn’t alone and will never be abandoned by us.
I will update as time goes on-

Also, thank you for the suggestion but, no puppy. We prefer adopting adults and, I’m a foster for BRaT (Pittsburgh area) so that may be a possible solution if a B comes up in my area. I have to admit I really like having a single B...the time spent is so much more personal for me.

You all are great. Thank you SO much!!

...and, yes the Max was with us when we let James Dog Kibble Bones depart. He was not interested in much after a single sniff. He did run around the house looking for Jimmy when we got back home.

So today the Max has been taken to daycare to see if socialization helps at all.
He lost it when my partner left for work today. Full blown benji siren blasts.

Fingers crossed this helps- is it a big deal if he attaches himself to me right now until he adjusts to being the only dog or, is that going to slow him down with his transition?
By attaching I mean that I take him to work with me where he has his own little bed to chill in. He does not sit on my lap and I do not acknowledge him if he follows me unless someone is asking about him. He’s just ‘there’ in close proximity.
I’m struggling

Personally, I don't believe that being alone is any more difficult than having another puppy. After all, there's always a chance that he doesn't get on with the new one (little or adult). I totally agree that he'll benefit from having more attention and bonding with you. There's plenty of time later to think about having more Basenji company.

@khaipan You are lucky to be able to take Max to work with you. That will allow you to make a home alone transition when you are all ready. He will be sensitive to your feelings, so you need to be ready as much as he is. As long as you don't make a big deal about it, he will be less likely to get excessively attached. My guys are quite attached to me (and, if they are awake, will stay at the window, watching me leave even if my S.O. is here), but they are fine when I'm not here. I've not really acknowledged them when I've left, so they can think that I'm just out on one of many short errands. I can frequently 'sneak out' without them even getting up. Not a big deal.

Before trying daycare again, you might want to approach that at least as slowly as leaving him alone if he's not had the routine of getting together with other dogs. It might also be good to spend the first couple of 'retry' visits with him (hopefully the facility allows for this), letting him have a little fun before leaving. If he's not into other dogs, he will probably be happier home alone. Even if you don't plan on leaving him at daycare regularly, it doesn't hurt to help him learn to like a place just in case you have an emergency need for him to stay.

I think Max is coming out of the woods a little bit!
He’s been more mischievous when he is with me at work (I do feel very lucky that they love him as much as I do) and when I got home last night after a movie he engaged in playtime like he used to do with his brother!! It was so awesome.

He has a handful of girlfriends at daycare and today he made a new friend- Jimmy, a bull terrier. Tears- great tears at least!

You all have been so wonderful. Thank you so very much for all you suggestions and words of comfort. Thank you.

Really glad to hear Max is doing better. I'd love to have a good answer but I'm not sure I have one. Losing Jimmy no doubt sucked for you and it sucked for Max. It will probably take some time for everyone to get over the loss. Unfortunately I don't think there is a magic answer. Empathy for all of you.

last edited by DonC

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