This Best of Bogue column originally was published Dec. 29, 1995.
Dear Gary: We had two chow chows. A 3-year-old male, Leo, and a female, Cinnamon.
Leo has been with us and Cinnamon since he was 4 weeks old. On Dec. 12, we had an awful rain and wind storm. The wind blew open the garage door and both dogs got out. We found out Cinnamon was killed by a car and Leo was with her when it happened. We found him three days later, walking the streets.
We never let our dogs run loose. He was pretty tired. What we want to know is, besides washing their bedding, what else can we do for the depression he is feeling? How long should it last?
He just stares when in the yard, or when looking out the window. He is still lost inside.
DEAR GAIL: I don't think Leo is depressed he's just bored.
What really happens when a dog loses its companion is "change."
They have played together and had fun together for years; now all that activity is suddenly gone. Some animals may grieve for a very short time, but for the vast majority it is the sudden lack of routine that's really bothering them.
The worst thing you can do is leave Leo alone to "mourn." It's time to establish a new routine for your pet: more walks, exercise, something new to look forward to.
He's not lost inside. He's just wants someone to play with.
DEAR GARY: I had the most horrible experience tonight.
For years, I've dealt with the problem of mice coming into my garage in winter by putting out a popular rodent poison, the kind they eat and then go off to seek water and die. I knew it wasn't a very humane way to get rid of the problem but I did it. I didn't have to watch, right?
Tonight, I discovered a little baby mouse convulsing on my garage floor. I watched in horror, thinking it would die quickly. It was obviously in agony.
Not wanting to prolong this process, I put it out of its misery and then stood over it and sobbed.
Gary, am I nuts? It's just that, the older I get, the more precious life is. Even a rodent's life.
The poison is in the garbage can and I will never use it again. The dilemma is how, then, to keep the mice from coming into my house? Do I use mousetraps? It would be quicker but it is still killing an innocent creature.
DEAR SANDY: First of all, don't ever feel bad about caring for a living creature -- even a mouse.
Compassion is a wonderfully generous emotion. You can feel it for anything, and we all need to feel it more.
You need to mouse-proof your house and garage.
Get some steel wool and stuff it very carefully in the tiniest holes you can find all around your house and garage. Pay particular attention to the narrow spaces by the drain pipes under your sinks and around the dryer vents. You'll be amazed at the tiny holes you can find if you look for them. Don't forget to block the spaces under your doors.
Then pick up a couple of those plastic humane mouse traps that catch them alive and set them in your house and garage.
If you catch anything, release it outside and then go back and look for any holes you might have missed. In time, your little mousy visitors will be limited to a precious few.
Gary Bogue has retired after 42 years of writing this column. If you have animal-related questions, contact Joan Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org; or P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.