I am currently reading a terrific biography on the life of Eleanor Roosevelt, titled Our Eleanor by Candace Flemming. As you may know, her relationship with her husband President Franklin Roosevelt began sweetly, but ended with heart break. He had multiple affairs and this greatly wounded Eleanor. When he died in 1945, Eleanor did “not shed a tear” at his funeral. However, when the couple’s beloved dog Fala died three years later, Eleanor “sobbed openly” at his funeral. Fala was buried at the feet of Franklin Roosevelt at the Rose Garden of his estate at Hyde Park in New York.
My guess is when Franklin died, Eleanor did what many people do when they loose a spouse- portray strength; not weakness or vulnerability. Mrs. Roosevelt would have especially done this since the entire world was watching her. Even though the death of her dog was years after the death of her husband, perhaps her grief for Fala was amplified because she hadn’t fully dealt with the loss of her husband.
We should keep in mind that a person’s connection with a pet might be as strong as that to another human being. The death of a pet can create serious grief. Above, find a link to a wonderful resource about pet loss. It discusses many different aspects of grief- from how children, seniors, and even other pets might deal with such sorrow.