A Dog’s 5 Stages of Grief When You Leave the House

You know you'll be gone for only five minutes, but to dogs, five minutes is, like, forever.

Liz Acosta  |  Mar 18th 2013


We guess that if your life span was only about 14 to 18 years, a mere hour might seem like forever. If we use the rudimentary equation of seven dog years for every human year, that means that every human minute is actually seven dog minutes, so yeah, one hour is like a whole workday to a dog. In those seven hours, dogs experience the five-stage grief cycle. Here it is in photos:

1. Denial

“I’m okay, I’m fine, this is all right. The two-legger will be right back. I’ll just sit right here by the door waiting for her … she’s probably just right outside. This is fine. I am okay.”

2. Anger

“Why did the two-legger leave me? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? I am so angry, oh wolf gods, I am going to tear up every cushion I find. This isn’t fair. I am a good dog — THIS ISN’T FAIR.”

3. Bargaining

“If I balance all these treats, will the two-legger come home? I promise to never tear up another cushion again … you’re going to have to buy new cushions first, but I promise I won’t tear them up when you do, if you only come home like, now.”

4. Depression

“Oh mighty wolf gods, the two-legger is never coming back, is she? She’s gone. She’s gone. I think I am dying. I am going to die without the two-legger. My heart is breaking. I am going to lie here and never move again.”

5. Acceptance

“I accept my new life as a lone wolf devoid of my two-legger pack. I accept this the way I accept trips to the vet and the cone around my neck. I accept it the way I accepted the new cat you brought home from the pound. Who will feed me now?”

For dogs, however, there is another stage, and that is …

6. EUPHORIA!

“What’s that? Is that the four-wheel monster I hear in the driveway? Is it — wait — let me sniff … yes! It’s the two-legger’s smell! SHE’S BACK OH WOLF GODS I AM SO EXCITED I WILL PEE MY PANTS.”

For some dogs and their humans, separation anxiety is a real bummer. Just ask Dan Kamys, who fears his dog may never get over freaking out. You might try getting a second dog, but even that’s no guarantee.

Does your dog ever freak out when you leave the house? Let us know in the comments!

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