Is Your Dog Suffering From Your Broken Heart? by Kristin Von Kreisler

Your divorce or breakup with a live-in boyfriend may be as hard on your dog as on you.  The disruption can turn her world upside down, and she might feel depressed, anxious, and insecure.  That’s why it’s crucial to notice how she could be telling you that your split has taken an emotional toll.  If you read the signals, you can help her.

  1. Clinging to you. After her divorce Melissa Gaskill’s pit bull mutt, Max, didn’t like to be left alone. When she came home, he stuck to her like glue and seemed to beg, “Please, don’t go away again!”  Because he’d lost his sense of safety, she spent extra time with him.  She played with him and kept him with her while she worked in her home office.
  2. New fears. A dog whose life has significantly changed may startle easily or cower at things that never bothered her before, such as thunder, strangers, even shadows.  Once you recognize the triggers, if possible try to avoid them.  When she’s anxious, be patient, and comfort or distract her.  If her fearful reaction is extreme, contact a vet or dog behaviorist.
  3. Loss of appetite. Your chowhound may express his upset at your split by sniffing his kibble and walking away.  According to Kingston, Washington veterinarian Rachel Strohmeyer, if your dog eats “the good stuff,” but rejects his usual fare, you’ll know that his disinterest in food is emotional, not physical.  But, she warns, “You don’t want your dog to get too thin.”  If the fast continues, see a vet.
  4. Moping. If your dog lies around looking dejected, she may be letting you know that she misses your ex or her once secure life. Or if you’re depressed about the breakup, in a process called “attunement” she may have picked up your feelings and gotten depressed herself.  Counter the pining with frequent walks and games of fetch.  Allow your ex to spend time with your dog.  If you’ve split up two pets, let them visit each other.
  5. Destructive behavior. In a time of loss and change, a dog can bark more or become aggressive toward other dogs.  He may chew furniture, claw doors, or lick himself raw.  Determine if a specific stress prompts the bad behavior, and avoid it if you can.  For example, if your dog decimates your slippers when you leave home, consider crate training.

Generally, the antidote to any sign of your dog’s stress is attention.  And more attention.  Give her all you can spare.


“Von Kreisler takes us deeper into the powerful connections between humans and animals.” —Jacqueline Sheehan

From the bestselling author of Earnest and An Unexpected Grace comes a novel about a woman, a dog, and the hope and love that can emerge from tragedy . . .

Two years ago, police officer Andrea Brady fell madly in love with a black-muzzled, slightly rumpled German shepherd who showed up at her house one misty autumn day. Now, with the brave and intuitive Justice as her expert K-9 drug sniffer, she’s found an unbeatable partner. Then the unthinkable happens. A savage attack leaves a teenager dead and Andie trapped in every cop’s worst nightmare. Placed on administrative leave, she’s pursued by media and investigated by a deputy sheriff whose handling of the high-profile case could earn him a

coveted promotion. Haunted by self-doubt, Andie is in danger of losing everything—her career, her freedom, and the critically injured dog who’s her soul mate. But as she finds kind allies in her Puget Sound island community, the road back becomes a journey of healing for both Andie and her canine companion. And Andie learns important lessons about justice—and about Justice—as she struggles to find the courage to forgive herself and reclaim the gift of her life. . .

“Be sure to set aside a quiet secluded time to read this book. You won’t want to put it down and you will resent any interruption. Von Kreisler safely navigates the treacherous waters of guilt, fault, consequences, honor and blame. Her compelling characters will have you rooting for them. In Andrea and Tom, Von Kreisler has given us wonderful, complicated human characters, and Justice, the canine of the title, is so perfectly drawn that the reader falls in love with him. A Healing Justice is a terrific novel and a great addition to Von Kreisler’s canon.” –Susan Wilson New York Times Bestselling Author of One Good Dog and The Dog Who Saved Me

“Policewoman Andrea Brady is living a contented life until a shocking encounter on the job leads to an inexplicable tragedy. As she struggles to cope with the traumatic aftermath, her greatest source of comfort is the gift of love and devotion from her beloved police dog, a regal German shepherd named Justice. Kristin von Kreisler is spot-on delightful when she writes, with uncanny sensitivity, from the point of view of Justice, who is not “just” a dog but a fully realized character whose resilience provides inspiration to his despairing human when she needs it most. A Healing Justice demonstrates why dogs are, and always will be, man’s (and woman’s) best friend.” – Amy Hill Hearth New York Times Bestselling Author of Having Our Say

“Kristin Von Kreisler writes masterfully about the connection between a police officer and her dog in this gripping story of heartbreak and redemption.” –Helen Brown New York Times Bestselling Author of Cleo and Bono

“When a book as wonderful as A Healing Justice brings tears to my eyes, and warms my heart I know I have a ‘keeper’ in hand. A Healing Justice is that kind of book. I have no doubt that I will read this book again and again because I personally experienced how a dog’s love and devotion can see you through the darkest days of your life.” –#1 New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels

Praise for the novels of Kristin von Kreisler

“Kristin von Kreisler deftly spins a tale of human failings and canine devotion.” —Susan Wilson

“In this terrific and uplifting novel, von Kreisler shows how the love between a dog and a person can prove transformative.” —Modern Dog Magazine