So can a dog really die of a broken heart?

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    Mar 04, 2011 7:59 AM GMT
    This bring tear to yours eyes

    Shortly after Lance Corporal Liam Tasker was killed in a firefight with the Taliban, his devoted Army search dog Theo suffered a seizure and passed away too.In life, they were united in their tireless work saving countless British soldiers in Afghanistan.In death, they were united in tragedy.

    Tragic loss: Liam Tasker was on patrol with his dog Theo at the time of the attack in Nahr-e-Saraj, Afghanistan
    The pair had uncovered 14 home-made bombs and hoards of weapons in just five months – a record for a dog and his handler in the conflict.
    .
    Only last month he described his joy at the close bond he had developed with Theo, a 22-month-old springer spaniel cross.
    ‘I love my job and working together with Theo. He has a great character and never tires,’ he said in an interview on the Ministry of Defence website.
    ‘He can’t wait to get out and do his job and will stop at nothing.’

    LiamTasker_415.jpg
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    Mar 04, 2011 8:16 AM GMT
    Man continually underestimates the spirit of the animal kingdom and especially the bond for life that a dog can create with his master. I have no doubt in my mind that this higher life form left this world to be with his partner and love. And my heart sores as my tears fall....what a wonderful story....thanks................Keith
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    Mar 04, 2011 11:16 AM GMT
    Depression has been shown to exist in dogs, but this appears to be a case of hyperacute death. Previous studies (references: 1, 2, 3) have demonstrated increased mortality during bereavement in humans (e.g., the death of a spouse leading to the death of the surviving spouse). However, all the factors that contribute to the time course of the remaining partner's death remain unknown. This is certainly an understudied issue.

    Technological innovations in social networking (e.g., Facebook) are refocusing attention on the beneficial impact of a social network, especially in those with advanced age. However, this strong bond between a soldier and his dog that led to their deaths so close together sounds quite rare. Perhaps veterinarians here could share any of their experiences with regards to pets dying of a broken heart?
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    Mar 04, 2011 11:35 AM GMT
    there is so much we just don't know about death... RIP both of them
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    Mar 04, 2011 11:40 AM GMT
    I do believe sometimes the spirit loses will to live. Not in a bad suicidal/depression way but sometimes there's just nothing left here and your soul wants to move on after the passing of a loved one. (i know HORRIBLE run-on sentence)
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    Mar 04, 2011 12:20 PM GMT
    You should look up Hachiko from the Shibuya station in Japan.
  • TrentGrad

    Posts: 1541

    Mar 04, 2011 12:45 PM GMT
    I don't think anyone literally dies of a broken heart...but can a dog suffer from bereavement related depression?

    I don't know the factual answer, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me to learn that dogs do fall into a deep depression when their human companion(s) die...and depression is bloody hard on your body, whether you're a human being or an animal!
  • hebrewman

    Posts: 1367

    Mar 04, 2011 1:40 PM GMT
    winstonguy saidI believe it. My Golden Retriever is incredibly attached to me and I am incredibly attached to him also. A couple of times I went on trips and left him with friends and when I went to pick him up they told me wouldnt eat the whole time I was gone and just laid in the corner. Of coarse this is all my fault because I have spoiled him rotten.


    winstonguy--- as a devoted dog lover (check out my baby boy in my profile), i firmly believe there is no such thing as a spoiled rotten pet.... JUST A WELL LOVED ONE. with all the hate in the world, how great is it to come home to those loving eyes and that total devotion to you as an owner, no matter how terrible one might look, they are always there.
  • hebrewman

    Posts: 1367

    Mar 04, 2011 1:47 PM GMT
    76coopers saidthere is so much we just don't know about death... RIP both of them


    now they have crossed the rainbow bridge together. rest in peace you two.

    and yes, i firmly believe that a dog can suffer from a broken heart. dogs are much more intune with us than we give them credit for. that goes for cats and domesticated birds as well......
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Mar 04, 2011 1:52 PM GMT
    I absolutely think there is truth to the statement. The dog was absolutely devoted and when his human companion was gone....part of the dog was now missing. I've read some interesting things about this. I'm a believer.
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    Mar 04, 2011 1:56 PM GMT
    waxon saidI do believe sometimes the spirit loses will to live. Not in a bad suicidal/depression way but sometimes there's just nothing left here and your soul wants to move on after the passing of a loved one. (i know HORRIBLE run-on sentence)


    This is true. Animals grieve just like humans at the loss of a friend (human or another animal).
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    Mar 04, 2011 3:04 PM GMT
    Dogs are by nature social pack animals and most dog lovers are guilty of projecting human characteristics onto dogs, but there's really something to this. My rambunctious dogs are very expressive and can effect the most stricken, slack-jawed looks on their faces at the sound of me rummaging for my shoes or car keys. I'm told that when I'm gone they undergo a complete personality change, pining at the window for hours on end, which is a level of attachment I'm not particularly proud of fostering. Like Theo one of my dogs recently had a seizure, as yet undiagnosed pending a second opinion, but from what I've read in those cases dogs need to be kept engaged, trained and receive more attention than ever to keep them healthy.

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    Mar 04, 2011 3:06 PM GMT
    Yes.
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    Mar 04, 2011 3:10 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]hebrewman said[/cite]
    winstonguy saidI believe it. My Golden Retriever is incredibly attached to me and I am incredibly attached to him also. A couple of times I went on trips and left him with friends and when I went to pick him up they told me wouldnt eat the whole time I was gone and just laid in the corner. Of coarse this is all my fault because I have spoiled him rotten.


    winstonguy--- as a devoted dog lover (check out my baby boy in my profile), i firmly believe there is no such thing as a spoiled rotten pet.... JUST A WELL LOVED ONE. with all the hate in the world, how great is it to come home to those loving eyes and that total devotion to you as an owner, no matter how terrible one might look, they are always there. [/quote

    This so well put together ....Thanks icon_biggrin.gif
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    Mar 04, 2011 3:10 PM GMT
    I saw this with a dog my brother's family had that was way too big for the space and kids. Ended up being penned up and neglected. Maybe he ended up dying from a lack of exercise or whatever but I always felt he died of a broken heart from never getting attention or the real care he deserved.
  • hebrewman

    Posts: 1367

    Mar 04, 2011 7:00 PM GMT
    i sent the article to my dad, who has had several dogs and loved both of them deeply. he too feels the same way about my love for maccabee. his take on this is simple....''they are both in a better place as neither would have been happy without the other.'' ahhh wisdom of an old man.

    now i know for a fact that maccabee does indeed go through anxiety when i am gone or getting ready to go on a trip. ( bostons are known for their strong bonds with their humans)
    when he was 5 months old, i flew my first 4 day sequence. when i got home, he was all over me like a post it note. then, he paused in the foyer, looked at me, cocked his head to one side and barked for 5 minutes. then, he went over to my suitcase, sniffed around it, looked me in the eye and lifted his leg higher than he had ever lifted it before, and pissed all over my suitcase. then, he did the back foot kick and sped off to the sofa as if to say, ''well, you went away for 4 days and i'm marking the item that took you away! so there!'' the only shoe he ever munched on when he was a puppy.... my uniform loafer. right on the tongue of it. i proudly wear it to this day. when the crew desk calls and he hears the special ring tone, he drops his head and his ears go flat against his head. he knows that ring takes me away. when he sees me in my uniform he heads for his crate, sits in the back of it and just shakes. i cant even get him to come out to give me a good by kiss. when i am able to extract him, he turns his head away and puts his left front paw against my chest and actually pushes me away. whomever says animals to not experience feelings never has witnessed first hand what these amazing creatures feel. oh yes, more human than human i say. and i am all the better for having this special guy in my life. if, god forbid, anything should happen to him, you guys will have to put me on watch.
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    Mar 04, 2011 7:20 PM GMT
    winstonguy saidas a devoted dog lover (check out my baby boy in my profile), i firmly believe there is no such thing as a spoiled rotten pet.... JUST A WELL LOVED ONE. with all the hate in the world, how great is it to come home to those loving eyes and that total devotion to you as an owner, no matter how terrible one might look, they are always there.

    AMEN BROTHER!! I often look at my "kids" and think, they are so, so, so lucky to be loved by me. With all the hateful animal abusers out there, they could have ended up so neglected, broken or worse! (One of them actually came from an abusive home until I rescued her!) And the love I get from them makes a HUGE difference is my life.

    Recently my lil' one, Pokey was limping. I freaked out, wondering if he broke his paw from jumping off the bed or something. I quickly bundled him up and took him to an emergency hospital on Sunday. I knew it was going to be expensive but I didn't care one bit. He was worth every penny I own and I was going to find him immediate care and relief. Turned out he stepped on a spider when I let him out to go to the bathroom. He was given an antibiotic shot and some medicine. I was relieved and gladly paid $400 bill, even though that meant I would have to tighten my belt until the next paycheck.

    Later that evening, as I prepped two others, Opus and Gumbo for a walk, I looked at Pokey, holding my leash and asked if he was well enough to come along. He held up his little sore paw, as if to say, "I think I'll skip today, y'all go ahead" and headed for his little bed. I was so shocked that he understood what I said and at the response he gave me! He is one smart cookie!

    I spoiled that baby rotten while I nursed him back to health and he loved it. (Who wouldn't??)

    I've always thought that they have emotions like we do and they understand fear (I mistakenly raised my hand in playfulness and Gumbo, the abused one from the past thought I was going to hit my poor baby!!), love (ever get licked in the face by 'em??), sadness (they mope while I get ready for work, it kills me every time!!!!), comfort (they sleep next to me or sit in my lap or besides me), joy (we run in the yard like crazy!!). I love my kids like crazy and they love me too!!
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    Mar 04, 2011 7:30 PM GMT
    That article was a tear jerker for sure. Both of them are heroes

    and bigeasydude, I couldn't agree more about a dog's ability to "tell" you how it feels.
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    Mar 04, 2011 8:31 PM GMT
    Imma gonna cry icon_cry.gif.
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    Mar 04, 2011 9:52 PM GMT
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_heart_syndrome

    I wouldn't see why this wouldn't apply to animals as well.
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    Mar 04, 2011 9:59 PM GMT
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    The Answer to all your questions are in this book.
  • thirdoz

    Posts: 69

    Mar 04, 2011 10:25 PM GMT
    I think it's possible for some animals, especially social ones to die of a broken heart. It's been observed in some of our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom.
    http://www.janegoodall.ca/chimps-we-know-f-flo.php

    The story describes a chimp that died due to a weakened immune system within a month of his mother, after showing signs of depression.
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    Mar 04, 2011 11:11 PM GMT
    Damn right they can! Any life form can. Otherwise, it wouldn't be life.
  • Anto

    Posts: 2035

    Mar 04, 2011 11:50 PM GMT
    Why are people thinking the dog died of a broken heart? It says he died of a seizure. From what I've read those types of dogs have a genetic predisposition towards having seizures. I bet it's more likely that the dog was overly excited in the fight and loss of handler and that precipitated the seizure.
    Here's a foundation that focuses on it for example:
    English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association Foundation, Inc.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Mar 05, 2011 12:10 AM GMT
    Dog's are pack animals and form bonds with others they view as part of their family

    It's what makes them the wonderful friends that they are
    That was a very sad story
    and when I saw this my heart just broke as well
    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRg82wpSlCM1Oziy3fdc_Y

    The dog is waiting by her master's grave
    The master was killed in a flood in Brazil
    and the dog stayed there for days waiting for her icon_sad.gif