Losing a much-loved pet is never easy. But even harder for many is being without a four-footed companion. Veterinarian Sheri Morris, DABVP, of Willamette Valley Animal Hospital in Keizer, Ore., offers a few thoughts about welcoming a new furry friend into your life.
Woe begone. Finish your grieving first. You can't simply replace a lost pet. You have to be ready for a new personality. "People need time to miss their pets and to think about them," says Morris. When you find yourself wanting a companion on your walks or a wagging tail to greet you when you arrive home, you'll know it's time.
Katherine Miller once lost her kitten inside her studio apartment. "I was panicked. She was only 8 weeks old, and she just disappeared," Miller says. "She was gone for the entire day, and I couldn't figure out what was going on." Fortunately, "that evening, I heard this tiny meow and realized it was coming from my dresser." Her kitten had climbed through a small gap at the bottom of the furniture and was trapped inside a drawer.
That's why it's so important to scrutinize your home for problems before...
Animal house. Consider the needs of your other household pets. They'll need time to adjust. Make sure you're constantly around to separate them if problems arise. "The most important thing is to supervise," Morris says. "You never know if they will accept the new pet quickly." Dogs adapt faster than cats: one to two weeks versus a month to six weeks.
Prepare yourself. When she lost one of her dogs, Morris she waited a year before she felt ready for a puppy. Again, it's best to be over the grieving stage before taking on a new member of the family, she says.