Is it too soon to look for a new puppy?
August 14, 2019 8:33 PM   Subscribe

My beautiful puppy died unexpectedly a few days ago. I'm considering a new puppy.

This is our first puppy ever. (Our other dog is a mature dog). She was the light of my life for five short weeks before she passed. Prefer not to go into details as it is raw, sad and unbelievably hurtful.

I miss her so much.

There are a lot of empty spaces where she used to be. It's the little things that hurt the most. When I'm cooking and she's not behind me to trip me up. When I'm eating and she not whining to be fed. When I'm sleeping and she's not snoring. When I'm bathing and she's not playing with the water. So many times I catch my breath and would feel my heart break into pieces.

Our other living dog is not happy. He would look for her and bark at places she used to be. He would randomly whine. He is a chill dog and doesn't do stuff like this usually.

I just have all these puppy things: blankets, toys, puppy school stuff. More than this, I have these puppy feelings. Like I NEED to take care of a puppy again. I don't know how else to explain.

A new puppy (or perhaps a mature dog) would not be a replacement. It would be part of the healing process. At least I hope so.
posted by oink to Pets & Animals (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you feel you're ready for another dog, you're ready.
posted by DrGail at 8:36 PM on August 14, 2019 [33 favorites]

I agree with DrGail. Everyone reacts differently to that kind of loss, but if you feel you want to bring another dog into your home, you can.

I'm so very sorry.
posted by praemunire at 8:40 PM on August 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

Rescue another puppy/dog! You'll be saving a life and also helping your family heal from the tragic loss. Loving another dog doesn't diminish the love you have for the puppy who died. I'm so sorry and I can't imagine how hard this is, but if you are ready to give another dog a loving home, please do. So many dogs need a family. Saving a life has no downside.
posted by quince at 8:45 PM on August 14, 2019 [17 favorites]

I don't think there's a such thing as a rebound puppy, I say go for it. You can call it "otherdogsname 2." Maturedog will love them just fine.

This is kind of glib, but I feel pet ownership is always a serial affair, unless your thing is turtles or large birds (or goldfish, as I just learned: 40+ years!).

I'm so sorry this is happening, though. When I was a kid we had a kitten for less than a month before it...disappeared. It was not replaced, because we were a dog family, and I've been thinking about it ever since.
posted by rhizome at 9:08 PM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

I have been where you are more than once. Sometimes I have waited longer to get a new dog because it felt disloyal to adopt someone new too soon. So I suffered and cried and then I still had that feeling of guilt and anxiety about disloyalty, even though I had waited for what seemed like an appropriate mourning period.

The last time, my mom coaxed me into going to the animal shelter just to take a look. I was very reluctant but she pointed out that there might be a dog there just waiting for me to love her. She said that it would be a sad thing if that dog missed out on me because of my guilt. There are so many animals desperately waiting to be loved!

She was right. My little love is curled up next to me right now. Every day I tell her the story of how my mother made sure she landed in the lap of luxury.

Someday I may have to explain her presence to the other dogs in the great beyond, but they are good boys. They will make room for her.

Go get a puppy and give him or her all the love that little doggy heart can hold.
posted by diamondsky at 9:16 PM on August 14, 2019 [27 favorites]

Oh and your other dog certainly deserves a new companion! If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for that good boy! He has a hole in his heart, too, and you can help him get it filled!
posted by diamondsky at 9:20 PM on August 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

Do it with an escape plan just in case you get a puppy home and find out either you or your other dog aren't actually ready yet, but go ahead and do it. Puppies are hard even when they're great, and if you're still feeling full of puppy goodwill I think that's a lovely legacy for your late puppy to pass along to a new doggo that needs a loving home.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:46 PM on August 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

When our cat died, we thought we wouldn't have another pet for a while. We grieved (and still do), and lasted all of 5 weeks before we went to the humane society and got another kitty.

It was the right thing to do.
posted by weed donkey at 9:51 PM on August 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I don’t think it’s too soon if you feel ready. If you are worried you aren’t being honest with yourself, could you foster a puppy from a rescue with the knowledge that you might likely end up “failing” into adoption? That way, you’d have an out if you needed one.
posted by charmedimsure at 10:02 PM on August 14, 2019 [10 favorites]

The only way I'd say wait to get a new puppy is if your little guy died of parvo. It's highly contagious and lives a long time, so you'd need to be extremely extremely throrough in cleaning (in house and any areas in which the dog may have spread feces, so back yards, car if vet trips, carrier etc)

When I worked in a Vet office we did have people buy multiple puppies who passed sequentially due to Parvo. It's a terrible disease . It's also one you can vaccinate for, and I'd recommend if that may be an issue any puppy you get had already has its parvo vaccination as well.

Otherwise, if your ready you are ready. I've causally certially acquired pets almost immediately (and even a little bit before) my pet has passed.
posted by AlexiaSky at 1:36 AM on August 15, 2019 [16 favorites]

Trust your feelings about what is right for you and when.
posted by spindrifter at 2:39 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

We have a long history of dog adoption and providing homes to many dogs, all beloved. But I want to tell you specifically that after losing our first Boxer, the dog I had the closest emotional bond with, the dog I took absolutely everywhere with me, the dog who had saved my life, I adopted another Boxer. And it was too soon.

I cared for her and did everything for her that she needed, but I didn't love her. And the ways in which she was nothing like the dog we had lost annoyed me. But I had committed to caring for this dog who needed a home, and so I stuck with it. And today, many years later, she is the elderly matriarch of our family. We love her so much. I know the end is approaching, but I literally cannot imagine our home without her.

So the moral of this story is: too soon is okay, too.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:17 AM on August 15, 2019 [12 favorites]

If you adopt or go through a reputable breeder (please do look up how to make sure it's not a puppy mill or backyard breeder, they can be very sneaky), as any responsible person should, you most likely will need to wait months to be matched with a puppy, so you'll still have some time to think about it before committing even if you start the process today. Anyone that's willing to sell you a puppy immediately I'd be firmly side-eyeing, unless it's an overcrowded shelter.

I'm so sorry and I hope the new little one helps you heal. From what you've written I think it will.
posted by randomnity at 7:01 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Too soon. Way too soon. My MIL was like you, ended up getting a puppy in days after her last dog died. Chose the dog she did because it looked like the dog that passed. Within a month she hated the puppy because it wasn't acting "right" ie like the other dog. She wouldn't return it to the rescue to let them rehome it & is now stuck for the life of this dog with a dog she hates, won't train, barely acknowledges and resents.

What I'm saying here is give it time. Make the decision from a place that isn't just trying to stop the pain & fill a puppy sized hole. Make it from a place that clearly sees the puppy as it is, not for what it's replacing. I'm not saying months, but at least give it a few weeks. Also yes you have all those puppy things, but make sure when you do get a new dog, to buy it some things that are it's own so you're not comparing it to the dog that passed.

There are plenty of dogs out there needing homes, they won't run out.
posted by wwax at 8:50 AM on August 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you can handle a new puppy, go ahead. Also, this weekend is the big "clear the shelters" adoption weekend, so a great weekend to go help and adopt a dog in need.

One of my 3 dogs recently passed (cancer), and I'm ready for a new addition, especially for the other 2 dogs, but my wife isn't. But, if you are ready, go for it.

It's a individual decision. Sounds like you're asking because you feel a little guilty. But you shouldn't feel guilty. These things happen. I had a kitten once that died suddenly, and a friend brought me a new kitten a week later. And that was great for everyone involved.
posted by rich at 10:42 AM on August 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

My dog died suddenly in March. I was planning to take a good long while off from pet ownership but ended up adopting a dog exactly 2 months later. It was exactly what I needed--she's been a huge struggle to get to know, but the effort in working with her and training her has really helped me channel my grief.
It's not always too soon even if it feels too soon--if you're ready to look, go for it and wait for the right pup to find you.
posted by assenav at 11:06 AM on August 15, 2019

I'm sorry to hear about your little one. If it helps assuage your guilt at all, here's an extreme example: when my beloved first cat died, I texted a friend to ask whether she still needed to rehome her cat - while I was on my way to the crematorium to drop off Feliner 1. I knew I needed another pet to care for and I would feel empty without one. (I did wait 5 days to actually go and get her, though.) Feliner 2 is only a little bit like Feliner 1, but I love her just as much, and I've never forgotten Feliner 1. If you're ready to care for another pet and you accept they won't be exactly like your late puppy, you sound like you're good to go.
posted by Recliner of Rage at 11:21 AM on August 15, 2019

I was coming here to ask pretty much this same question. My dearly beloved rescue Huggy died this weekend (quickly, heart attack) and I have the situation where for the next few months I have more time/space to bond with a dog so if I’m going to get one in the next year, it should be not too long from now (I always try to stay home for a decent stretch of time after I adopt.) I don’t have an answer for you but in the past I have always just made sure that the next pet isn’t too similar. I got Huggy too soon after my cats died, really. But I like to think about the timing in terms of when the animal needs me, rather than when I need the animal...
posted by frumiousb at 6:21 PM on August 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My beloved girl died suddenly in May and our whole family was (and has been) grieving intensely, including our other dog. I decided after about a month to rescue a new dog and it didn't work out for us, for lots of reasons. I posted a question about it - I don't want to discourage you, but I felt SO ready and then when I got the new dog I realized I was so NOT ready. Nothing bad happened - we fostered a sweet dog for a few weeks and he is in a really great home now - but, it was very stressful and sad and set me back in my grieving process. However, if the dog had been a better fit for our family we would have kept him and I'm sure I would be totally in love with him by now. I am so sorry for your loss.
posted by GoldenEel at 2:20 PM on August 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

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