Words of Wisdom on Adopting After Loss...From My Readers
Updated: Feb 24
Those who have been through this have so much wisdom to share. I asked people I interviewed advice they would give someone who is considering adopting a new pet after losing their “soul” pet. These are some of the responses:
“You will be ready on your own time, but don’t deny yourself the joy of bringing a new dog into your life. Your dog would want you to be happy and they’d want you to give another dog a great life like they had.”
If you want a pet that really connects with you, just wait. Especially if you are like me and only have a limited number of "vacancies" open. If you are absolutely alone then I think yes, go to your local shelter and pick someone out and hope for the best."
“If you don’t think you can you don’t have to get another pet ever. But if you think you can, try fostering a pet. You get to give some love, and find out whether you are able to handle a new pup in your life.”
“Do not rush, examine your reasons for wanting another pet, have realistic expectations, love them for who they are. Enjoy the new experience.”
“Wait and when you think you’re ready, wait another 6 months.”
“Listen to your heart, it knows what you need. Don’t worry about what “anyone” and I mean anyone - mother, father, husband, kids- says about adopting another pet. If they love you, they should want you to be happy and they should support you in what you seek to restore your joy. If you are not ready, then they should also support you in that and wait for you to feel ready… I believe each loss is different and you don’t know how you will grieve or heal until you are there. You are the only person who knows what and when you are read, period.”
“Take the plunge. If you are a good pet parent you know that you’re making a commitment, and sometimes a commitment helps you get up in the morning and carry on. Plus, pets are so good for your emotional state.”
“Wait, visit many dogs. Go to therapy. Maybe read a few books. Foster. If you want a pet that really connects with you, just wait (don’t rush the process).”
“Give yourself time and don’t rush into anything because you are lonely. You will know when the time is right. Always remember, when and if you decide to adopt again, treat your new pet with the love, attention and kindness they deserve.”
"She is not there to replace him, or even compete with his memory. Let her be herself and love her for her specialness. Guilty feelings don’t serve any real purpose. He would want you to tuck him into your heart and move forward, taking him with you. The hearts of pet people are so big, there is room to love more and others. It is a matter of allowing ourselves permission to do so."
“I believe when you have that peace in your heart and things fall into place that is meant to be. Pray about it – make sure you’re not doing it to “replace” your pet. Let a pet find you.”
“I like to think they would prefer you rescue another instead of grieving forever.”
"You don’t get over it. You move forward taking your lovey with you. We are forever changed because of the love of our fur babies and there is no changing back. We work through our grief and when we are ready, we will share our hearts and homes with another. Getting a new pet is a very personal and individual choice... A new pet is a great distraction from our grief, so don’t let anyone discourage you, if you feel ready. Likewise, don’t let anyone push you into it, until you are ready. Your heart will know."
“Only adopt if and when you feel ready! Your new pet should be treated as an individual as well.”
"After my soul dog died, I swore wouldn't get another one because it hurts so bad when they die. But it's like losing a limb - felt incomplete. After couple of months I started thinking it might help me get over my grief just to go visit some shelters and look at the dogs. It did help me a lot. When I looked at their sweet eager faces begging for love, it made me see the big picture. There are so many out there who crave and deserve love. I thought, ‘There's a dog out there who needs me.’ And I found him.”
“Open your heart. Save a life. I feel that is the best way to honor their memory.”
"Just got to wait til the time is right, or maybe instead of looking for another one wait til they come to you and that can happen in many ways."
“Let yourself grieve properly.”
“You have so much love to give, please give it to another special pet…You will never forget your other pet…so honor him/her by sharing your love with another one...”
“I think adopting a new pet helps, don’t compare the pet to the lost one. It’s an individual and you will find many qualities you like about the new pet that are different from your last pet.”
“You’re not replacing them just helping other animals.”
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened,” a Dr. Seuss quote. Once I thought about him and smiled, I knew I was ready.”
“Beau was the closest thing to a soulmate if there is such a thing. But Luna is really helping the process and has made me realize there are so many animals out there needing help and love. Anybody who has had a soul pet is obviously so capable to giving immense amounts of love so my advice would be to open your heart to another one if you can muster it up the strength and let them help you become you again.”
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