This is something which has cropped up in conversation on several different occasions due to the nature of our work. There is no doubt that losing a pet causes real grief across the household, some say the kind of grief similar to losing a human family member. It is not surprising that a thought which often comes up is when should I get another dog/pet? Is it too soon? Or will I ever be ready?
The heartbreak and emptiness can be unbearable and the truth is there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to getting another pet. Some people jump in right away, others wait months, years or even come to the conclusion they won’t be getting another.
Several factors may effect this decision and everyone deals with grief and loss in different ways so one of things to remember is try and not be too hard on yourself. Here are some guidelines which you might find helpful –
Give Yourself Time To Grieve
First of all it it normal to be sad, or angry after losing your pet, so take the time to allow yourself to grieve for them. You might feel really lonely, and that is understandable. You might also feel sad but relieved at the same time, especially if your pet has had a serious illness for a while and you know that they are now at peace and not suffering anymore. Going out straight away to fill the void might not be a good idea if you have not come to terms and accepted the loss of you pet. Try to wait until you find some peace within yourself. You may still be sad but you should not be at war with yourself over what happened.
Think about the other people around you and how getting a new pet might affect them. This might be your spouse/partner, children, flat mates. As we all know, a new pet, especially a new puppy for example requires a lot of work and readjusting for everyone in the household. A little bit like a new baby in the house! You might decide you want to go down the route of adopting a rescue dog, and again just remember to think of others. Having a family or group meeting is a good idea, then everyone can have their input and perhaps you can share ideas about what breed you are looking at or what route you want to go down.
Do You Have Other Pets?
Considering your other pets if you have them is important too and might be overlooked. Dogs and other pets do grieve too. Try to keep an eye on your other pets, see if you notice any subtle changes in their personality. Are they off their food still? Acting a bit off? Once you feel like they are back to their old selves is a good time to then consider looking more closely at getting a new dog/pet because bringing a new friend in to the house as you know can cause a bit of disruption short term and you want to try and make sure everyone in the house is going to adapt as well as possible.
Anything You Have Been Putting Off?
Owning and caring for any pet is a commitment and you might find you have been putting certain things off. Maybe it’s a good time to go on that long vacation, or move house? Maybe you have just been putting off decorating, and now you have a bit free time to get that done. If you have a list then it’s a perfect time to book that trip before jumping in and replacing your old pet.
Getting Your Next Dog/Pet
You have decided that you definitely want to go ahead and get a new pet and all the family/household are in agreement. Next piece of advice is to think about what type of breed you want. This is worth a lot of consideration, especially when getting a new dog. Your dog you lost might have been more senior and did not require the same amount of walking that a younger dog the same breed will need. Or you might find if you go for a completely different breed that they require a lot of different care. Just do your research, seek advice and don’t rush, take your time. Your beloved dog/pet can never be replaced, but a new one can be a beautiful way to share the love in your heart. Some people find that the heartbreak of losing a pet was too difficult to ever go through again. Sadly, they may choose to no longer have pets. However, most people realise that they want to continue sharing their lives with pets. Think of it this way: by opening your life up to a new pet in need of a home, in a way you are honoring your pet’s memory.