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.
When Alex Nocifera's 12-year-old Weimaraner, Bodi, started panting hard during a hiking trip, he became concerned. When the dog later showed no interest in her food or water, he knew something was really wrong.
Still, he didn't see the end coming. "Now that I look back, there were slight indications," Nocifera says of Bodi's last days. "I remember a few months prior to the trip she was just a bit less active," he says. He chalked her slower pace up to aging.
Often, it is only in retrospect that...
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.