When to Consider Adopting Another Dog After One Has Passed

shutterstock_271849685_Paw_Hand Grey MuzzleIf you are like most people, you will eventually decide to get another dog after yours has died. This is a personal decision and one that should be made very carefully. The entire family should be involved in deciding the best time to commit to a new relationship. The time frame for this is different for everyone. Bringing a new dog home to the family before everyone is ready can hurt someone by implying that the dog’s death is insignificant. You may feel that you loved your passing dog so much that you can’t bear the thought of bringing another dog into your life and going through the loss again. Give yourself time. Try not to rush into making a decision until you have sorted out your feelings and grieved.

Well-meaning friends and family may encourage you to adopt another dog before you are ready. Resist this. When you see a new pair of yearning eyes looking into yours, you will know when you are ready.

During your time of grief, remember to pay attention to the other animals in the home. They also will be affected by the loss of your senior, as well as by your own grief and stress. They may react in various ways, including exhibiting personality or behavioral changes. This is usually temporary. If you have another dog that is suffering from the loss of his senior friend, try to keep his routine as normal as possible and lavish him with attention at this time.

My experience has shown me that one of the greatest legacies you can give your passing dog is to provide your love and compassion to another dog that so desperately needs it. Some people eventually find comfort in going to a local animal shelter and adopting a homeless senior dog. This should be done with some care. Often, people feel that adopting another dog of the same breed and coloring as the dog that has passed will help them deal with their grief. This is usually a mistake. The second dog is not the first dog, and it is unfair to expect him to be. By choosing another dog that is physically different from your passing dog, you will learn to love and appreciate his unique qualities. If you are not quite sure you are ready for another dog in your life, try fostering an animal through a local animal rescue group.

You will not only provide housing and love to a homeless dog while he is waiting for a permanent home, you will be able to test your own readiness without a long-term commitment. Every dog, especially a senior animal, has so much to offer and will surely enhance and bring joy to your life. If you feel you have grieved and your heart is telling you to open yourself up to another relationship, you are probably ready. For some, there is no better medicine for a hurting heart than the love of another dog, while for others, the best medicine is time.

Jennifer Kachnic, President of The Grey Muzzle Organization and author of Your Dogs Golden Years –Manual for Senior Dog Care


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Positively Expert: Jennifer Kachnic

Jennifer Kachnic is president of The Grey Muzzle Organization, a nonprofit providing grants to animal shelters and rescues nationwide for senior dog programs. She is also author of a manual on senior dog care.


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5 thoughts on “When to Consider Adopting Another Dog After One Has Passed

  1. Smith2895

    I don't agree with having to get a dog that is different breed or different looking.
    Every dog is an individual and just because it is the same breed and colour it does not mean that the person who is getting him/her can not appreciate their unique qualities.

  2. Dave Hardman

    We always and have Dogue De Bordeauxs and have no trouble with similarities. We came close though after losing our first Dogue. We went to see a rescue and she was just too similar and after a look at her pedigree she was discovered to be the niece of the girl we'd just lost.
    So we went for a boy, just so there would be no comparison.
    Since then there has been no issues.

  3. Smith2895

    To be honest, if that happened to me, I would have actually taken the related girl... to me it would have been a sign and also I would still feel that something from my old dog is still in her...
    But that's just me...
    I had a Belgian shepherd (Tervueren) I really loved, I haven't had a chance to get another one yet, for now I can only have one small dog... but if I ever were in a position to get one, I would actually look for his bloodline to get some one even remotely related.

  4. Frances Takacs

    My best friend passed away 5 months ago. I tried taking in a stray, ended up.finding her a home. I can't even Petsit dogs anymore. I can't foster anymore.
    I hope others can find love again. I never will. Chewie was it for me.

  5. Mike Newhouse

    I felt the same way when we lost Piper, my cattle dog best friend and companion of 15 years. Thought I would never love another dog the same way. And I haven't...but I found new and amazing ways to love and appreciateGillian, the now 2year old red heeler. Don't give up. Give yourself some time. You will never replace Chewie, but another dog can fit inside that hole in your heart, I promise.

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