Hundreds of current and former patients of UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco mourned the death of a 7-year-old yellow Lab named Nilani. Nilani, beloved as a therapy dog, died of kidney failure.
Rebecca Soffer and Gabrielle Birkner, whose parents died young, created the website Modern Loss to help people better cope with death and grief and have conversations about mourning. The women say the site will not tell people how they should feel and will not welcome the words "everything happens for a reason."
When pets die, the emotional pain owners are left with can be overwhelming. The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine are among the veterinary schools that provide resources to grieving owners, including guidance and a support hotline. Experts recommend owners consider holding rituals such as a service to honor a pet and connecting with others who have experienced similar loss.
Dawn Henson began making homemade dog treats in her kitchen in an effort to raise money for heartworm treatment after she adopted an infected dog from a shelter. That decision has spawned donations to other animals in need and a new business venture. Henson hopes to open a store that includes an area to house animals available for adoption.
A recent study of olive baboons found they did as well as human children at accurately comparing quantities, providing the first evidence that baboons use analog reasoning. "A lot of people don't realize how smart these animals are," said researcher Jenna Bovee. "Baboons can show you that five is more than two. That's as accurate as a typical 3-year-old, so you have to give them that credit."