When Should You Adopt Another Dog after a Loss?

when to adopt a dog after losing one

Losing a dog is heartbreaking. Sometimes we can’t bear to be without one; sometimes we can’t imagine ever having another. But in the end, dog lovers need dogs around.

So how long should you wait to get another one after saying goodbye to a beloved pup? Our readers weighed in:

No time to lose. Kathy A. started looking immediately. “Can’t be without a dog!” she says. Lynnea K. W. says they lost their Golden Gracie on a Friday, and she “woke up with tears streaming from my eyes for two days.” On Sunday night she applied to rescue Pepper and welcomed her home two weeks later.

Months, but not many. Two to six months was a common range. Some, like Barbara B. and Victoria O. said they weren’t ready, but the new pooch found them. We call that canine intervention. 😉

The long way back. It took Susan B.K. two years to grieve her 17-year-old Killian. She then adopted Lucy and calls it “the best decision ever.”  Marney R. said they waited to adopt after their most recent loss in order to travel. After over a year, their still-broken hearts led them to rescue a senior with disabilities. She says, “We are in love again — and honoring Bubbles’ life by saving Foxy Brown.”

Foster failure (aka success). Chelli M. says they weren’t ready to get another one right away after losing their 9-year-old Golden — or so they thought. They tried fostering instead. Says the proud first-time foster failure, “Our boy found us and stole our hearts right off the bat.”

Paying it forward. After a month of sitting alone in a quiet house after her Babe died, Katie I. realized, “I was doing myself more harm than good.” She looked around local rescues for another hard-luck older dog and brought Lucy home just after the 10-week mark. Recalls Rose H., “My girl Pax left in September. Initially I felt like I could never have another dog again, but lately I feel that I am called to another…Our lives are long, dogs’ lives are short. It seems somehow selfish to withhold all the love I have to give and share just because I grieve her. Moving on never means forgetting or replacing. It just means carrying that love forward and continuing to give.”

when to adopt a dog after losing one

Rose and Pax. Photo: Rose Hansen

Overlapping the love. Karen L. knew she couldn’t go a night without a dog. She got Nessie as Skeeter was preparing to die, and two weeks later, Skeeter left peacefully.

Fur the other’s sake. Says Mandi S., “When Daisy passed at 13, her lifelong pal was so depressed that I looked at the AHS website 10 days later and adopted Kacee that very evening. We weren’t ‘ready’, but Kacee healed our other dog’s broken heart enough to allow us to grieve.” Similarly, Allison M. waited less than a month: “Our other dog wouldn’t leave the house on walks anymore. He was distraught. The hardest part was the first few days when we would find Doc waiting by the front door in the middle of the night or find him searching the house for Ruby. He wasn’t sure what to make of Poppy when we brought her home. They’re inseparable now. ”

when to adopt a dog after losing one

Doc and Poppy. Photo: Allison Martinsen

Woof from the wise. Cynthia F., who waited two months, believes that “when our pups pass, it’s their way of saying ‘My job here is done. Time for you to let another pup do the job he was meant to do.’”

Doggone denial. And then there’s J.R. M.’s stance, which we happen to ruv: “My dog is going to live forever and that’s all there is to it. End of story.” Don’t we all feel that way, just a little bit?

Bottom line, SWDers: There’s no magic time — you’re ready or you’re not. Adding another won’t fill the hole, but it sure helps soothe the hurt. Time and love heal. And wiggly rumps, warm bellies, and snuffly snuggles are miraculous medicine.

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