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Pets are the life and soul of your family. When you have a pet for many years, you struggle to imagine life without them. This makes it all the more difficult when they eventually pass away. Dogs don’t live very long compared to humans. A lifetime for a dog is, on average, around 10-13 years. When you consider some humans live to be 100, it’s a pretty crazy difference.
You won’t like to think about it, but your dog will likely die before you. When this happens, you’re left with a very tough decision. Do you bring another dog into your family? Or do you never get a dog ever again? Some people might initially think that the second option is the only one. How could you possibly replace your dog?! But, it’s not as easy as that. There’s a lot to think about, and this article will help you come to the right decision.
The best approach to this question is to look at the pros and cons.
Pro: A new dog can help you grieve
A key reason why many families adopt a new dog is that it helps with the grieving process. Your home can feel big and empty when you don’t have a dog running about. Kids are especially prone to getting really upset when a pet dies. They find it very hard to keep going on with their lives as normal. It traumatizes them, and they could spend days or weeks getting no sleep.
So, in this regard, a new dog comes in to help the family grieve. It brings new happiness into your lives and can also remind you of the old dog. As such, you have memories flooding back to you of what your old dog was like as a puppy, while at the same time enjoying the new memories you’re creating. It’s particularly helpful for young kids who have grown up with a dog their whole lives. Expecting them to go on without a dog is very harsh. This can be exactly what they need to help recover and grieve.
Pro: A new dog prevents loneliness
This point links in to the previous one as a new dog can prevent feelings of loneliness. Again, this is a common feeling in some children. They may feel all alone without their best friend. So, a new dog comes in and gets rid of the lonely feeling. Now, they have two best friends – the one in their heart, and the one by their side!
Furthermore, this is relevant for people who live alone. Perhaps you live by yourself, or maybe one of your parents is living alone with a dog. In these cases, a dog is more than just a pet. It’s a valuable companion that makes your life better. Dogs can sometimes keep you sane if you’re on your own all the time. As such, if you avoid getting a new one, you can easily slip into the void of loneliness. You no longer have a constant companion, and there’s no telling where your mind might go. It sounds dark, but the truth is that many people depend on dogs for companionship. Therefore, getting a new one is an excellent idea as it stops you from feeling lonely.
Pro: A new dog makes your house feel complete
If you have lost a dog, then you’ll know how empty your home can feel. It’s not just the lack of noise, it almost feels like there’s a hole in your family. You became so accustomed to your old dog that all of the little things they used to do now seem like massive things. It’s very hard for your home to feel normal if you don’t get a new dog. Time may help things, but some families just can’t adjust.
In this case, a dog is needed to make your house feel complete. It restores an invisible balance in your life that will make everyone feel happy once more. To put it in simple words: you feel like a family again.
Con: A new dog can mask grief
The first advantage of getting a new dog is that it can help with the grieving process. However, it can also be argued that a new dog may cover up your grief. This tends to happen when you instantly get a dog as soon as yours dies. You feel like it’s the only thing that can make you feel happy and get over all the pain. That’s fine, and this can be the case. But, when you make the move too quickly, it can cover up the pain you’re feeling.
Remember, getting a new dog is not the same as getting your first dog. There are many things to consider, and your feelings are one of them. How do you really feel right now? Your dog has passed away, and you’re obviously very upset. It’s natural to reach out and want something to replace what’s missing. However, you should only do this if you and your family are truly ready. Spend some time grieving before you make your decision. Otherwise, you risk getting a dog just to use as emotional support. What happens when the grief runs out? Will you still pay the dog as much attention as before? It’s possible, but it’s equally possible that you or your kids may start neglecting them. This is quite similar to when people get dogs for Christmas and neglect them after a few months.
Con: A new dog makes you feel guilty
I think one of the biggest things people have a problem with is the guilt of replacing an old dog. It feels like you’re bringing a stranger in to fill their shoes. There’s absolutely nothing morally wrong with getting a new dog, yet it can feel so unsettling. In fact, some families refuse to get a new one because of this reason. Kids may throw tantrums because they don’t want another dog, they want the old one. It’s a very tense situation to traverse.
Nevertheless, you can come to a logical decision. All you have to do is memorialize your old dog. Ensure that their memory lives on forever and that your family never forgets them. There are plenty of unique ways to do this – some of which are more intimate than others. On one end of the scale, you can get a lovely photo of them placed on the wall in your home as a constant reminder. Or, for something more sentimental, you can buy jewelry for funeral cremation ashes to store part of them with you forever. This is quite popular as your dog is cremated and some of their ashes are stored in a locked or ring. That way, whenever you wear the jewelry, you’re constantly reminded of them.
As a consequence, you no longer feel guilty about getting a new dog. They’re not a replacement, and you’re not throwing aside the memories of your old dog. Both can exist together – one in your mind and one with you physically.
Con: Your life situation has changed
Lastly, your life situation may have changed, meaning a new dog might not suit it. Now, this sounds a bit crazy. How can your life change that dramatically from the moment your dog died to now? A few days or weeks might have passed, what could possibly be so different? Not much, but that’s not what we’re talking about. If you’ve had a dog for 13 years, then think how much your life has changed in that time. You still kept your dog because you loved it deeply, but it may not have actually suited your current life.
There’s every chance you got a dog when you were single and living at home. Now, you’re married and thinking about starting a family. Does it make sense to get a pet when you have babies on the way? Can you afford to look after all of them? Similarly, what if you’ve been working hard the last few years and had to pay people to walk your dog and feed it while you were at work? Does it make sense to get a new dog if you don’t have time for it?
I hope this makes sense. The simple fact is that you may be at a stage in your life where a new dog will be more of a burden than a joy. If that’s the case, then you shouldn’t get one.
So, should you get another dog after yours has died?
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider. If you want an answer to the overall question, then it’s a big fat I don’t know. There’s nothing wrong with getting a new dog, so long as you’re not specifically using it to grieve. If you and your family are ready for one, and you can look after it, then go ahead. But, if you don’t think you can handle another dog, or if you’re just looking for something to ease your pain, then it’s not the right choice.