There is something about that all too common question, “So, when are you going to get a new dog?” that seems to strike us where it hurts most. This may be because the question seems to imply that a dog—or a cat, or bird or any other beloved pet companion—is something to be simply replaced after their death. And yet as any pet owner can attest, every pet is a unique, living creature that can never be replaced.
Yet it is not unusual for pet owners to adopt new pets after the loss of a previous beloved pet. But when is the “right time”? Is there ever a “right time”? Let’s take a closer look at three important factors you will want to consider if you are thinking about bringing another pet into your life.
Are you mentally and financially ready for a new pet?
Being ready for a new pet is about more than feeling that you are healing from grief—it is about being completely ready for the new living being you are bringing into your home and life. This is especially important if the pet that has passed was older and has been in your life for years. A new pet, even an older pet, will need some training that is specific to your home and will need time to become adjusted to their new life. Are you able to spend the time and energy required to help your new pet adjust? If you are getting a puppy, kitten or other young animal, you will need to consider whether or not you have the time (and money) needed to train and raise them.
You should not rush yourself into getting a new pet
When considering bringing a new pet into your life, you should think hard about whether or not you are rushing—or being rushed.
The grief that we experience after the death of a pet can be overwhelming and leave a deep sense loss in our lives. Sometimes, people think that getting a new pet right away will make their grief for their old pet disappear right away. People can even feel pressured to get a new pet by friends or even family members, who—usually with the best intentions—think that getting a new pet will make the person stop feeling sad and help them “get over it.” But grief is a natural process that may take time to soften—immediately getting a pet if you are not emotionally ready may cause you more pain in the long run.
Don’t try to “replace” your pet.
A pet can never be replaced, regardless of how much time has passed in between their death and your decision to get a new pet. Instead of trying to find a dog that is “exactly like” your old dog, look for a dog that you think will be a beneficial addition to your home, even if they are different.