Animal Book Club: How Animals Grieve

Posted by Jennifer Molidor, ALDF's Staff Writer on June 11, 2013

Do cows cry? Do crows mourn the loss of family and friends? Have you ever witnessed an animal grieving? If so, you know that there is much we still need to understand about the mystery of nonhuman animals and their tremendous capacity to feel!

June Book Club

This month, the Animal Book Club will be featuring Barbara J. King’s excellent new book “How Animals Grieve.” Her book has been taking the world by storm – stirring conversation from animal lovers to anthropologists. Featured in TIME Magazine, NPR, and Psychology Today, “How Animals Grieve” is an examination of loss, love, and mourning across the species. Barbara’s book shows us that grief – and the subsequent healing of grief—is a complex emotion experienced by animals, human and nonhuman alike, across the span of time.

Read with us! Coming up this month, we will have a book discussion and an interview with the author, Barbara J. King!


For now, our book club contest begins! Join the free Animal Book Club and leave an answer below to qualify and you may win a free copy of “How Animals Grieve.”

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and chat with us on Goodreads.

See you next week in the Animal Book Club. Happy Reading!

Contest Question

Have you ever witnessed an animal grieve? Share how you knew what that animal was feeling.

(All answers qualify for our drawing to win a free copy of “How Animals Grieve”; contest closes soon!)

4 thoughts on “Animal Book Club: How Animals Grieve

  1. Hmmm, I thought there were a whole bunch of comments here a few days ago. In particular I remember one about someone’s dad whose cat was really upset at their passing. Did these comments just vanish? Or am I imagining things? ;)

  2. Milena Czarnota says:

    I do know how animals grieve. I know especially how elephants, cows, baby rhinos and dogs, etc grieve. They grieve the way us humans do. Have you ever heard a mother cow cry for the young calf that’s been taken away from her/murdered before her? If you ever have, then you will NEVER EVER forget that mothers pain. They’re cries are blood curdling.
    Have you ever seen a baby rhino cry for its dead mother that’s just been killed by poachers? I have, the baby rhino usually won’t leave their dead mothers side, their cries I can’t even begin to explain. Their tiny whimpering, such a sweet little voice mourning for its dead momma. I will never and could never forget that sound…
    Elephants are very smart animals, they grieve as well. They will fight for their family, babies and friends within the herd. Although I have never actually heard an elephant grieve, but I have seen the way they act when a loves one is killed. Most humans aren’t as protective of one another as elephants are. The whole pack will try to do everything in their power to protect the one who is being attacked. But when they can’t do anymore, when they are simply overpowered…they grieve all together. And elephants do hold grudges! As they should against those that kill their loved ones. They are BERY emotional creatures (wish I could say the same for most of the human race).
    Dogs grieve as well, but it’s a bit different. They may stay with their owners dead or dying body until they’re not allowed to any longer. They will fall into a depression like state, most of them do as long as their owner has been one that they have known for most or all of their life. But dogs have a shorter memory span. After a while, if they’re rehomed, and put into a loving environment..they will slowly come back to loving life again.
    I wish I could have explained this better, because there is so much more to say about each and every animals grieving cycle. These are just the basics, as far as I have seen and heard.
    Thank you,
    Milena Czarnkta

  3. Denise Fleck says:

    In the midst of great distress when my yellow Lab Sunny had suffered ruptured discs in her spine, I will never forget the concern exhibited by our doggie friend and neighbor Pooches. It was as touching a moment as I have ever experienced and proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that humans are not the only life form to possess emotions (as if I ever doubted it). The Vet Tech was strapping Sunny to the stretcher in our backyard while I stroked her head trying to reassure her that all would be okay. Pooches, a cute Terrier mix who lived on the ridge above our home, wandered in through the open gate and with such a look of concern in her graying face, licked Sunny’s cheek. She then nudged Sunny’s ear several times with her nose to comfort her and whimpered a gentle sigh. As we lifted the stretcher, the small black dog stood back to clear the way and then let out a sharp and forceful bark addressed to Sunny as if to say, “Don’t worry pal. You’ll be alright, and I’ll hold down the fort till you get back.” Pooches paced self-confidently back and forth at the top of the hillside as we carried the ailing Sunny-dog down the long and winding steps to the help she needed.

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