Our family sadly lost both our precious boys just over 3 months ago. The pain we have is still so raw and deep. Everyday I get up it takes me a minute to realize that our boys aren’t here anymore. It’s kind of like for that moment I almost forget. But we wonder when is it OK to get another dog, is it too soon. How long should we wait.
That morning routine of getting up, letting them outside and of course some cuddling is no more. Everything that we do now is without them. Sure is hard to even muster doing our day to day activities some days. We miss them so much, our hearts are broken.
The thought of mending our hearts by getting another dog is something we certainly think about daily.
Nobody knows what it feels like to feel the loss of their pet until it happens to them. Watching our boys take their last breath was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do in my life. I literally see that imagine in my mind regularly.
I know that it has only been like 3 months, but I sure feel like it has been longer.
We all know that grieving process goes through 5 steps: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and lastly acceptance. Right now, I would say I am probably in the depression stage toppled with some anger.
At times, I feel completely sad and angry. Then I think about how my boys were suffering and I guess you could say I feel some acceptance with the fact that they are no longer in pain.
Still, the loss hits deep and the thought of quickly filling that void with a new puppy is strong. How easy it would be to just get a new puppy and be so busy with them, that their is no time to think about our lost puppies.
The real problem with that is then we are never really and truly feeling that loss. We need to go through the heart ache to properly deal with our grief, before moving on. I feel like we owe them that much.
Getting a dog to soon, also would not be fair to the new dog. They deserve your full attention. There is also the worry that you would compare that new dog to the old one and take out your pain out on them.
A dog that is truly part of your family means that everyone in the family is going to be going through the same feelings. Unfortunately everyone grieves at different paces. That means just because you are at one stage on the grief chart, doesn’t mean your other family members are there too.
This makes deciding to get a new dog when you feel ready, not necessarily great timing for everyone else. The entire family really needs to be on the exact same page. It just wouldn’t be fair to the new dog to have the complete family on board for their arrival.
Have a family meeting when you think that you are truly ready to start talking about getting a new puppy. Sitting down and letting everyone have their say is important. This will make everyone feel like their feelings and voices are being heard.
Families need to make decisions together, especially when it comes to getting a new dog. Dogs are a huge responsibility and it really does take a village, so everyone needs to be excited and happy about a new dog.
When considering getting a new dog after your loss, you also strongly need to consider if you have other pets in the house. Just like us, our other pets will feel the loss of their friend and family member too.
They can act oddly or erratically. I have seen other pets react in a very depressing way. Many will mope around, sleep more or even develop separation anxiety. They can stop eating or have no energy at all.
Family dogs grow up together and while we are work stay home alone together. A strong bond develops and having a friend with them through their journey in everyday life bring them support.
That being said, bringing a new dog home quickly could cause your existing dog severe stress. Watch your dog as they will show you how they are feeling. You will see improvements to their activity level, appetite and overall mood.
When this change happens, that is when your dog would be OK with you bringing in a new dog. Your dog will essentially tell you when they are ready.
Figuring out where you are at with your life, is also important. Are you planning any long vacations or time away from home that would take you away from your new puppy.
How is your work schedule looking? Will it get in the way of having a new dog. Are you about to switch jobs. As we know dogs are a huge responsibility that will require you to be home on a regular schedule. Dogs have big time needs especially when they are first brought home to your house.
Is your home still set up to handle a dog. Are you planning things like home renovations. These big projects, could potentially cause your new dog serious chaos. Dogs need a stable and secure home to come home to. It takes awhile for your new dog to settle into their new home, if it is in chaos, it could certainly create emotional issues for your new dog.
I like to tell people that they need to make a list of what things are coming up in their life before deciding the time is right to get a dog. Puppies especially require your full attention and it something that needs a full comittment. If your life is in turmoil, maybe wait til things slow down a bit. Just food for thought!
Getting the next dog
After you have thought long and hard about the considerations that go into getting a new dog maybe you have decided that the time is right. You now need to go through the process of picking out your next dog. Take your time, and don’t just jump at the first dog that you see.
As I have said a 100 times, the dog breed that you pick, must fit with you and your families lifestyle. There is nothing worse than getting the wrong dog and realizing it after it is too late. Look at things like energy level, exercise requirements, personality and of course the size of the dog.
Being able to handle our emotions after we lose our dogs is so key to being ready to get a new dog. There is no time limit and no right or wrong answer. Your dog can never truly be replaced.
In the same breath going through the trauma of losing your dog can change some peoples mind to the point where they never want to get another dog. They just can’t go through the heartbreak all over again.
I like to thing that our family will get another dog at some point, but for us right now, we just aren’t ready. When we are ready we will welcome in our new baby with open arms. We certainly have enough love to give them and for that reason, we will be dog owners once again. Already we are talking about it and what that dog will be, and we are both on the same page. As to when that will be, only time will tell. We both love dogs and will offer a dog the best life possible.
I’ll keep you posted, when we are ready. Best wishes to all you dog owners out there. Please give your dog a hug for me.