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Getting a New Pet after the Loss

Pet parents and their families who have lost a pet usually want to open their homes and hearts to a new furry family member at some point. When is the time right? There is no correct answer to this question; nevertheless, here are some of my thoughts:

Don’t be in a hurry to get a new pet. The family needs to grieve for the pet they lost and not see the new one as a replacement. A new pet will have different behaviors, needs, and personality. No two pets are alike, just as no two people are alike. When you can remember your pet with a sense of love and gratitude the time may be right. You want to enjoy this new relationship and discovery of the new pet’s personality.

All the family members should be involved in the decision to get a new pet and in choosing the new pet. This includes any other current pets you have! You want to decide if they will be welcoming of a new pet. Are they looking for a playmate, or do they enjoy their new found solitude? Older pets may not want a new puppy or kitten to be jumping on them, but middle-aged or younger pets may look forward to the new energy in the house. Consider adopting a senior pet- they may already be housebroken and will be calmer than a new puppy or kitten.

Think about your current and future situation. Will you be traveling more or moving? Do you have a job that will require more of your time away from home? If so, perhaps waiting to get a pet until you are more settled and have more time is a good idea.

What about getting a pet before the loss of your current pet? Sometimes adopting another dog or cat when your current pet is aging is a way to ease the transition. You have the chance to acclimate a new pet to the home before you start handling end-of-life care. They will then be there to comfort and support you during this loss.

There is no right answer to the question of when to get a new pet. There is an opportunity, however, to help a furry friend find a forever home.