Monday, April 22, 2013

When to get a new dog after pet loss?

It's only been a few weeks since we lost Brooks, but Mike and I have dared, a few times, to let the subject of getting another dog escape our lips. We say it in hushed tones, almost like a secret. As if the word got out, we'd somehow seem less loyal to Brooks. When is it time to get a new dog?

The truth is, no dog can replace Brooks. Ever. No dog could ever look at me the same way he did, sprawl across my chair in the exact same way, love me the same way. No dog could be as sweet and gentle and perfect as our Brooks. But there is a hole, and nothing will be quite right again until it's filled. No, we haven't healed from losing Brooks yet. But if we wait for that, well, we're going to be waiting a long, long time.

Besides, there are other dogs out there waiting for homes, waiting for the kind of love and comfort we have to give. A dog who otherwise might be left on the streets or in a shelter. We want to give another dog a place in our home and our hearts--even hearts that might be aching still.

So we told the rescue group who found us Brooks, that when the right dog came along, we're ready. And we smiled for the first time in a long time.

We don't wish to be picky, but we do need to wait for the right dog. Mostly, we need a dog who will get along with Kelly. Kelly isn't friendly with all dogs and we learned from experience that we're not comfortable refereeing and mediating difficult doggy interactions. And the breed must be a Golden Retriever (or mix). Brooks spoiled us for that.

But the big question is age. After adopting a senior and losing him after one year, would we do it again? My son says no--he's begging us, next time, to get a puppy instead. To be honest, we'd like a younger dog, maybe a couple years old, so that hopefully we won't have our hearts broken again quite so soon (although, to be sure, there are no guarantees at any age.) Truth be told, however, an older dog fits our lifestyle well. We loved how easy Brooks was--content with a few walks, throwing the tennis ball around a bit, and snoozing the rest of the day. We loved his calm personality. No, I don't relish the thought of losing a dog again. And I'd prefer a younger dog, for that reason. But if the right dog came to us and he was a senior, we'd do it again.

I miss Brooks. I miss him from the moment I wake up and he's not there beside the bed greeting me, to when I'm sitting in my big green chair and he's not there sleeping on the ottoman, to when I look at his picture and long to feel his soft golden fur, and every moment in between. But I think my heart is able to handle it again. My husband thinks he wants to get another dog before too long.

We're ready, wherever you are.


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51 comments:

  1. Hello there! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my previous
    room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this write-up to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!



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    ReplyDelete
  2. Such a difficult decision. But so long as you go into it knowing that you're not replacing Brooks, it's okay to start looking. I only waited a couple months to get another dog after Sephi died. I still had Maya, but there was still that hole that you were talking about. After much looking around, we were rewarded in our dog Pierson. He's nothing like Sephi so still mourn her. But he has filled that hole.

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  3. I think you're smart to not wait too long, I waited 1 1/2 years and it about killed me to even think about it, but then I thought like you, that there is some pup out there that really needs you and you need them :). You'll find the right pup for sure! Not to get all spiritual and all, but I have to believe that your Brooks will help guide you with your decision too in some way :). I know I am soooo beyond happy I ended up with my little Max, the tiny, male dog I deliberately set out not to get, but that tiny little male pup is my world now :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is such a personal question...When Bruno passed on my ex insisted I had to wait a year before I looked for another dog...Well, that's one reason he's an ex now...It was about a month when I realized how empty my home was...And just think if I'd listened to him I'd never have found Gizmo...We find our dogs when the time is right for us

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sue at Talking Dogs
    Lovely post. There have been times we've gotten another dog right away and times we've waited for quite awhile. I like to think the "right" dogs found us when the time was truly right.
    My recent post Mischief Monday: Ducks, Geese and Dogs

    ReplyDelete
  6. houndstooth4
    This sums up how I felt after Treat died before we found Bunny. I think my heart healed a lot faster after we adopted Bunny. It was the first time I came home after work and didn't cry because Treat wasn't there. I had something to look forward to and it was a nice feeling! I quickly learned that Bunny was NOT Treat, and never would be, but she is wonderful in her own right. I hope that you find the perfect new dog for you! I love that feeling of Christmas waiting for a new dog to come!
    My recent post My Boring Weekend

    ReplyDelete
  7. MySlimDoggy
    This is a tough decision. We've struggled with these decisions all too frequently in the past few years (3 times) but each time we adopted a 2nd dog fairly quickly (within 2-3 weeks). We had planned to get a 'younger' dog after we adopted senior Becca and lost her after 3 short years, but we've ended up with 2 more seniors. Like you, they fit our lifestyle. I do miss the puppy stage and all the craziness & laughter it brings, but I think our hearts now belong to seniors because they are so hard to place. We know we can give them a comfy, cozy retirement...just what I want for myself someday :)
    My recent post Music that soothes the savage beast

    ReplyDelete
  8. goldenwoofs
    Woof! Woof! It's a very hard decision. You'll know when the "right" dog" comes ... you'll feel it. Golden LOVE. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar
    My recent post Is Your Car Dealership Dog Friendly?

    ReplyDelete
  9. cafall
    We are still so sorry about Brooks. It's hard to put a timetable on that kind of love. You will know when the time is right, and whenever that is, that pup is going to be so lucky to be able to loved like Brooks is.

    Sam
    My recent post Monty's Gotcha Day!

    ReplyDelete
  10. @catlover0908
    Peggy, any dog you adopt will be so lucky to have you!!!

    It's such a personal decision but I always get upset when I hear people say they don't want to adopt again but they can't go through that pain again. So many homeless animals *need* us so desperately that I feel like I need to put my pain and feelings second and open my heart up again. Every animal is irreplaceable, but every one is so unique and special.

    Brooks will point you in the direction of who you are meant to be with :) Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Two French Bulldogs
    This is such a hard decision. Brooks was so special. You are not replacing Brooks just adding a new member
    Benny & Lily

    ReplyDelete
  12. Team Beaglebratz
    Mom Kim here-
    This is the f have read of Brooks crossing the Rainbow Bridge - I am so sorry for your loss. I have been dealing with vision problems for a few weeks and have not been able to visit blogs or post much on my own. When I have to miss reading blogs for this reason, what I wonder about the most is who has lost a pet and not being able to read about it.

    I just know that Brooks is at the Bridge - no pain as he chases his ball through the meadow - no more slowing down and once again the young playful pup.
    Mom Kim
    My recent post Update and a bit more

    ReplyDelete
  13. baileyunleashed
    wow, this post really struck a nerve. when i lost my precious kibbles, i swore she would be my last dog. how in the world could i deal with losing another dog? i just knew i couldn't handle that depth of pain again... then bailey came into our lives. as soon as we saw her, we just knew she was for us. it is amazing how she has changed our lives. i know someday i will lose her too and i will swear she is my last dog... then i will probably rescue another :)
    My recent post big bones

    ReplyDelete
  14. Pam
    What a wonderful picture of Kelly and Brooks-- it says it all. Peace and happiness.

    ReplyDelete
  15. @Pam That was the only moment I caught them together like that. Usually Kelly merely tolerated Brooks, but I think she really loved him in her own way.

    ReplyDelete
  16. No one can tell anyone when the time is right. Every time we lose a pet it will hurt so bad. But saving another dog and giving a dog a loving home is a wonderful thing. Bailey is lucky your heart was open to let her in.

    ReplyDelete
  17. You're so right. Brooks will always be in our hearts, no matter what.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you so much for those comforting kind words. We miss Brooks so much, and his passing was so sudden, but we know that he came to us to give him a loving home for his final year. I'm happy that he made so many blogger friends. Thank you for being one of them.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks! My husband always says it only hurts so much now because it was so good while he was here. It's not easy to go through the pain, but the good parts make it bearable.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you. Your comment makes me feel a little better and stronger. :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks Sugar. And I know you understand why we are looking for another golden retriever again too!

    ReplyDelete
  22. The puppy stage is cute, but also exhausting! It's wonderful that you have a heart for seniors and give them the retirement they deserve.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm sorry about Treat, and I know that it still hurts and there are times you must still cry. But loving again and making new memories helps, and Bunny is a lucky gal.

    ReplyDelete
  24. That's exactly the way we feel....don't those dogs just have a knack of rescuing us?

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm glad to hear you say that. I felt "guilty" for a long time for getting Georgia so soon after Jordan died. It was about 6 weeks later. Rufus was pining as badly as us, wouldn't eat or sleep and we just felt we had to do something to snap him out of it. After visiting a few rescues and meeting a few dogs, he chose Georgia! Truth be told, I resented her presence for a few weeks but she did Rufus a world of good. And of course, we learnt to love her in no time at all.

    I think you're right about what kind of dog you'll get. We have intentions and wishes, but often it doesn't turn out that way. We never thought we'd ever get a girl! Your dog is somewhere out there, looking for you. Good luck and happy new trails x

    ReplyDelete
  26. There is no one answer for this. You just have to kind of go with your gut. We waited 6 weeks after we lost Bailey to get Abby. I could have gotten another dog sooner (I just NEED to have a dog around) but the hubs wanted to wait. When we lost Abby, we said we were going to wait a while, but 5 days later we saw Rita's picture. She looked like a mix of Bailey and Abby, so we couldn't resist her. Brought her home a week later. Later that day, I heard the hubs telling her he loved her.

    I can totally understand about not wanting to get another senior. I'd be afraid as well. So hard. But as you mention, getting a puppy is no guarantee sadly. We got Abby at 4 mo old and lost her at 2 1/2 years to cancer. I agree with Max - Brooks will have a paw in helping you and your new pup find each other when the time is right.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you so much for those comforting kind words. We miss Brooks
    so much, and his passing was so sudden, but we know that he came to us
    to give him a loving home for his final year. I'm happy that he made so
    many blogger friends. Thank you for being one of them.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thanks! My husband always says it only hurts so much now because it was
    so good while he was here. It's not easy to go through the pain, but
    the good parts make it bearable.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you. Your comment makes me feel a little better and stronger. :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks Sugar. And I know you understand why we are looking for another golden retriever again too!

    ReplyDelete
  31. The puppy stage is cute, but also exhausting! It's wonderful that you
    have a heart for seniors and give them the retirement they deserve.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm sorry about Treat, and I know that it still hurts and there are
    times you must still cry. But loving again and making new memories
    helps, and Bunny is a lucky gal.

    ReplyDelete
  33. That's exactly the way we feel....don't those dogs just have a knack of rescuing us?

    ReplyDelete
  34. What a beautiful post, Peggy. No dog could ever replace Brooks, but allowing another pup into your heart does his memory such an honour. I always believe that a rescue dog would be happy for another rescue dog to take their place in a happy home filled with love. When the right pup wanders into your life, you'll know.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Yes, thank God, they do :-)

    ReplyDelete
  36. So beautiful Peggy, it's good to hear you are open to whatever comes your way. You'll know when the right one comes along.

    ReplyDelete
  37. snoopy@snoopysdogblogApril 23, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Hi Peggy,


    What a beautiful post and pictures - I'm sure Brooks would love to know that you're thinking of sharing all your love with another dog too and that when the right dog for your family comes along you'll know! :)


    Big wags,


    Your pal Snoopy :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Ah, I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Brooks looks like he was a sweet guy, and I'm sure he was a special part of your family.....




    --Champ's mom

    ReplyDelete
  39. As you know, we lost Blitzen at a really young age. Blitz was so easy and on some level it seems to me that he moved on to make room for Ty. Ty's a special guy and we've been lucky to have him - and he's also been a challenging little bugger that has taught us a lot. We better dog owners for having him in our lives. I'm sure you'll find the dog that needs you right now, and he or she will do things that remind you of Brooks and make you smile. And you'll know that Brooks is smiling to, from the other side of the rainbow bridge.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Sue at Talking Dogs


    Lovely post. There have been times we've gotten another dog right
    away and times we've waited for quite awhile. I like to think the
    "right" dogs found us when the time was truly right.

    My recent post Mischief Monday: Ducks, Geese and Dogs

    ReplyDelete
  41. houndstooth4



    This sums up how I felt after Treat died before we found Bunny. I
    think my heart healed a lot faster after we adopted Bunny. It was the
    first time I came home after work and didn't cry because Treat wasn't
    there. I had something to look forward to and it was a nice feeling! I
    quickly learned that Bunny was NOT Treat, and never would be, but she
    is wonderful in her own right. I hope that you find the perfect new dog
    for you! I love that feeling of Christmas waiting for a new dog to
    come!

    My recent post My Boring Weekend

    ReplyDelete
  42. MySlimDoggy


    This is a tough decision. We've struggled with these decisions all
    too frequently in the past few years (3 times) but each time we adopted a
    2nd dog fairly quickly (within 2-3 weeks). We had planned to get a
    'younger' dog after we adopted senior Becca and lost her after 3 short
    years, but we've ended up with 2 more seniors. Like you, they fit our
    lifestyle. I do miss the puppy stage and all the craziness &
    laughter it brings, but I think our hearts now belong to seniors because
    they are so hard to place. We know we can give them a comfy, cozy
    retirement...just what I want for myself someday :)

    My recent post Music that soothes the savage beast

    ReplyDelete
  43. goldenwoofs



    Woof! Woof! It's a very hard decision. You'll know when the
    "right" dog" comes ... you'll feel it. Golden LOVE. Lots of Golden
    Woofs, Sugar

    My recent post Is Your Car Dealership Dog Friendly?

    ReplyDelete
  44. cafall



    We are still so sorry about Brooks. It's hard to put a timetable
    on that kind of love. You will know when the time is right, and
    whenever that is, that pup is going to be so lucky to be able to loved
    like Brooks is.



    Sam

    My recent post Monty's Gotcha Day!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Two French Bulldogs


    This is such a hard decision. Brooks was so special. You are not replacing Brooks just adding a new member

    Benny & Lily

    ReplyDelete
  46. Team Beaglebratz


    Mom Kim here-

    This is the f have read of Brooks crossing the Rainbow Bridge - I am so
    sorry for your loss. I have been dealing with vision problems for a few
    weeks and have not been able to visit blogs or post much on my own.
    When I have to miss reading blogs for this reason, what I wonder about
    the most is who has lost a pet and not being able to read about it.



    I just know that Brooks is at the Bridge - no pain as he chases his ball
    through the meadow - no more slowing down and once again the young
    playful pup.

    Mom Kim

    My recent post Update and a bit more

    ReplyDelete
  47. baileyunleashed



    wow, this post really struck a chord. when i lost my precious
    kibbles, i swore she would be my last dog. how in the world could i deal
    with losing another dog? i just knew i couldn't handle that depth of
    pain again... then bailey came into our lives. as soon as we saw her, we
    just knew she was for us. it is amazing how she has changed our lives. i
    know someday i will lose her too and i will swear she is my last dog...
    then i will probably rescue another :)

    My recent post big bones

    ReplyDelete
  48. No one can tell anyone when the time is right. Every time we lose a pet
    it will hurt so bad. But saving another dog and giving a dog a loving
    home is a wonderful thing. Bailey is lucky your heart was open to let
    her in.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Pam


    What a wonderful picture of Kelly and Brooks-- it says it all. Peace and happiness.

    ReplyDelete
  50. That was the only moment I caught them together like that. Usually Kelly
    merely tolerated Brooks, but I think she really loved him in her own
    way.

    ReplyDelete
  51. @catlover0908


    Peggy, any dog you adopt will be so lucky to have you!!!



    It's such a personal decision but I always get upset when I hear people
    say they don't want to adopt again but they can't go through that pain
    again. So many homeless animals *need* us so desperately that I feel
    like I need to put my pain and feelings second and open my heart up
    again. Every animal is irreplaceable, but every one is so unique and
    special.



    Brooks will point you in the direction of who you are meant to be with :) Hugs!

    ReplyDelete

Kelly and Ike say thank you for your comments!

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