In my book, The Infinite Bond, Stormy Bey, our remaining Arabian gelding, suffered a significant time of depression and sadness after his other two best buddies died within twenty-four hours of each other. Stormy lost weight, had a poor appetite, and his haircoat became dull and dry. Even though he had the company of a new pasture mate, he grieved for the other two friends he’d spent the past several years with.
Even though his bloodwork and other tests I ran on him were normal, he physically wasn’t looking well. Emotions –in this case grief — was the catalyst for Stormy’s physical appearance. This happens with humans as well, and if left unchecked, these emotions of grief, sadness, despair, etc. will be significant stressors on the body and can lead to illness and disease.
You might “poo-poo” this observation, but it does exist in animals. Let’s back up to people for a minute. We’ve all heard about a grief-stricken spouse who dies hours, days, weeks, or months after the death of the other spouse. I knew two absolutely wonderful people who were happy, healthy, and lived a clean lifestyle. The wife developed leukemia, and despite aggressive treatment, died six months after her diagnosis. Her husband, who had been the epitome of health, developed Lou Gehrig’s disease within months of her death, dying exactly one year later. Coincidence? I believe to think not. The couple I described were deeply in love with each other. In my mind, there was such a close connection that the husband passed on to be with his wife.
I saw the exact same thing when Ty and Ibn passed away, just a little over 24 hours apart from each other. Even though Stormy lived another seven years after his best friends died, he experienced significant sadness until we helped him “release” his emotions with therapeutic-grade essential oils. Even with that, I felt he never quite got over his loss, choosing to “leave” when I traveled away from home for a few days. When I think back on his death, it was very near to the exact day when Ty curled up against the side of the corncrib and took his last breath.
We have to acknowledge the fact that animals are spiritual beings, just like us. Even though they communicate differently than we do, many of the same feelings and emotions surface in our animal companions. Those of you who have watched You Tube videos of the elation that elephants exhibit when reunited after being years apart, or the service dog that lies for days at the foot of his soldier’s grave know exactly what I’m talking about. It cannot be denied.