Gone, but certainly not forgotten.
Most of us have lost a loved one, whether a person or a pet. And we mourn that loss with varying degrees of intensity.
We’ll pour over pictures that bring back memories and for a moment at least, they take us back to times gone by.
But what about our pets? I know I’ve read stories of pets who mourn the loss of an owner. I’ve even seen that in action. But I’ve never thought of how the loss of one pet could impact another. Maybe because I’ve never had more than one pet at a time—well, unless we count the budgie and the dog.
But here is a story of a dog who lost his brother, and suddenly I’m looking into animals and their memories.
Frank and Smiff
Frank and Smiff are two dog brothers who lived with their owner, Libby Francis Davey, in Bristol, UK.
The two dogs likely spent much time together, and it looks like they had a great life, with lots of space to roam and run.
Unfortunately, Smiff passed away. We don’t know if he was old or sick, but when he died, I’m sure he was missed by all. Certainly Frank, his partner in fun—and possibly some crime.
To remember Smiff, his owner had a painting of him commissioned.
Since memories often fade faster than we want them to, it’s always nice to have pictures of those we have loved and lost. Likely with this in mind, a painting of Smiff was commissioned to a local artist.
Once it was done, it was hung on the living room wall.
A place where Frank would see it. But no one could have imagined his reaction to it.
As soon as Frank saw the picture, he had his nose in the air, inspecting it. From there, he was up on the couch with his nose right against it, sniffing. Surely trying to find the scent of Smiff.
As Davey said on Facebook,
“I think Frank knows that’s a painting of his brother.”
I think she is right.
But poor Frank. After sniffing for quite a while, he seems to realize Smiff isn’t really there. So what does he do?
He peers out the window. Perhaps wondering if Smiff is outside.
What do dogs remember?
So, is it possible the Frank remembers Smiff? The actual, visual Smiff, not just the scent of him?
Science has proved that elephants can remember, as we read at ScienceFocus,
“An elephant has a very large brain for its size and the ‘temporal lobe’ region responsible for memory is more developed with a greater number of folds – this results in powerful abilities to ‘download’ important survival data such as where to find food and water, and who is friend or foe.”
What about a dog, with its much smaller brain? Can it remember more than how to react to the commands we teach them? According to Brian Hare, a dog cognition expert at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, the answer is yes.
In an article in ScienceMag about research done on dog’s memories, he states:
“It shows that our dogs remember events much like we do, and [it] blows out of the water the old way that most scientists would characterize animal memory. Our dogs’ memories aren’t based simply on repetition and reward.”
So while Frank now runs the beach alone, there is a very good chance he remembers running on the beach with Smiff.
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I done a painting for a lady who’s dog recently died. this is his brother how amazing & sad
Posted by Tina Muir on Sunday, November 1, 2020