Stitch and Cookie shared everything — love and affection from their human family, chew toys, and even a food bowl. Stitch is the dog on top, Cookie is the one on the bottom:
But sadly, as Today reports, Stitch died of old age earlier this month, leaving Cookie an only dog child.
The dogs' human "brother," Easton Dufur, 18, says Cookie is still stuck in some old habits from when Stitch was around, and TBH, it looks a lot like Cookie's way of grieving.
Since Cookie is the only one using the food bowl now, the family has started putting less food in it (enough for one dog, instead of two). But Cookie is still leaving exactly half of the food for Stitch, just like Stitch liked when the two shared food.
According to Barbara King, author of "How Animals Grieve" and "Personalities on the Plate: The Lives & Minds of Animals We Eat," and professor emerita at the College of William and Mary, there are a few reasons Cookie could be leaving half of the food. First, it could just be habit — if Stitch was the top dog in the family, it's possible Cookie was just really, really well-trained to leave half the food for the alpha dog in the house.
But, as King told Today, dogs definitely feel grief, so it's possible that the grieving dog interpretation is correct.
"When one dog dies and the surviving one changes his or her routine markedly — by socially withdrawing, or failing to eat or sleep or play in normal ways for more than a day or two — then I'd be much more likely to go with a mourning explanation," King told Today.
Our thoughts are with Cookie, Easton and the rest of the Dufurs.
Are you interested in learning more about what you're reading? Scroll through this article about dogs who get depressed when their companions die, and then like us on Facebook and join our newsletter to learn more about your pet's behavior.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.