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ISO: Advice on adopting after recent losses

5040 Views 62 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  PatriciafromCO
So, I realize this is an intensely personal question and only my husband and myself can make the best decision we can for us, but I could really use some advice or stories or anything helpful regarding adopting a new dog after yours dies.

Sebastian, the dog my husband and I adopted when we first moved in together, died on January 3rd, just a few months after my family dog from childhood died as well. Obviously, it's been a lot of loss in a short period of time. I have not lived in a house without a dog since I was 13 and I will be 30 next year. I hate being in a house without a dog even more than I thought I would (and it is a "house" without a dog, not a "home"). I hate it so much. I am so lonely without both of them. Further, I have serious and chronic health problems of my own... neither Bailey nor Sebastian were service animals, but I did not realize how much my health relied on them until they were gone. Or maybe the stress of their passing has thrown my system out of whack, which is also entirely possible.

Basically, I feel like I'm ready to start looking for our next family member. The idea that a new dog could in any way replace Bailey or Sebastian is absolutely unthinkable to me, so believe me that is not what this is. Or, that's certainly not what we want it to be, but I am also well aware that my husband and I are still very early in the grieving process for Sebastian and that we need to be cautious in our decision making. I think we are, though. We are keeping the lines of communication open with each other and when we browsed on Petfinder we sent an enquiry about ONE dog that looked like he'd fit our lives... not 100 questions about 100 animals that who knows if they'd work for us.

Anyway, I guess I'm just looking for stories about when you adopted after losing another pet. Did you do so quickly? Did it take years? Have you reached your last dog? I would also be extremely curious to hear from those who have fallen in love with specific breeds. Sebastian was Pyr mix and we are hoping for another mix or full bred Pyr, but want to be congnisant about not comparing him to Sebastian. At the same time, we know lots of people who will get the same breed over and over again. Bailey was my first dog from childhood and Sebastian was my first dog I adopted myself as an adult so this is the "first second dog" for everyone and we are all feeling a bit lost about it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, while recognizing (again) that no one else can make this decision for us.

Thanks in advance.
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I told you my experience, but it won't hurt to repeat. When my Dobie/GSD died at 17yo, we adopted a Lab/GSD puppy within the next month. After he died at 16yo, we adopted a 1.5yo Lab/GSD. With all three dogs, as well as previous dogs, we did make comparisons to previous dogs, and did 'grieve' for about a year or less. And, it seemed to take about 3 months to build a 'bond' with the dog.

One of the 'conveniences' of a puppy is that we didn't have to untrain bad habits and fears. In contrast, with an adopted adult, we didn't have to potty train, and general training was much faster than with a puppy. Personally, I think a puppy is easier to deal with once you accept the messiness.

One reason that I like to adopt as soon as possible is because a dog fills a gap. He doesn't replace other dogs, b/c he fills the gap in a distinct way for each dog. Getting used to a dog helped us to speed through the grieving process. There was still grief but there was also a dog to support the grief. And, there was 'down time' to 'wallow' in the grief, especially when you have a 'puppy' licking you in the face.

I don't think it matters if you get a Pomeranian or a Pyrenees, you will still make comparisons. In my case, in 3 months to a year, the comparisons no longer mattered ... b/c we bonded to the current dog.

On the flip side, I unintentionally lost 5 pounds by walking the new dog. In the last 5 years of the older dog, he didn't walk so much as hobbled. The current dog walks with a loose leash, but he needs at least 2 miles a day as a baseline of exercise. I probably run him an additional mile or two, and I'm in better shape than I was 20 years ago.

So I recommend doing the needed research and not waiting ... except to get the dog that you want. I'd also suggest a healthy dog for now, and after a year of 'training' him, you might consider a second dog that needs a little more help, if you're still interested.
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I don't know about Pyrs jumping, or how they might evaluate, but let them bring up the issue with the fence when they visit. If the fence is the only issue, and you make it clear that you will do what's needed, I'd hope that they'd be very positive about someone willing to take a pair of adults!

Do Pyrs run up to the fence, or do they stand at the fence and jump straight up? One thing that I've used for dogs that jump straight up is to put chicken wire flat on the ground by the fence. Most dogs do not like to stand on chicken wire, so that can be a deterrent to getting close to the fence. Good luck!
Over the phone, you might apologize and say that you 'mis-typed' ? 5.5 feet, and you re-measured, and the fence is 5 foot. But, when they come visit, if the fence is the minimum 5 feet high, you could apologize only if they raise the issue ... but, if you can, let them be impressed with the house visit, before stating a 'non-problem' ... and then ask about strategies for keeping the dog safe ... possibly adding the chicken wire suggestion.
So, it sounds like the fence was a non-issue. What's the hold-up? ;-)

When is the decision, and when can you bring them home?

For Sally, one approach that I used with Mikee [who'd been in a Rescue for 1.5 years] was bond based training. The first thing, after he began to relax in his new home, I took him for a walk in the backyard, then an on-leash walk in the neighborhood, talking or singing to him all the way. Then, I sat with him on the floor, not looking at him or confining him, but I had some cheese cubes. I would eat one, then stop. Then, I bit one in half, and offered him the other half, continuing for 5 - 10 pieces. If he didn't want to take it from me, I'd toss it to him, so he could catch it (not at first), or eat it off the floor at his leisure.
It sounds like you could go out and get some AKC Champion puppies for that price. If the ball is in your court, you might try to get hold of the head of the Rescue, and ask what happened, b/c you were under the impression that fees were XYZ (like you saw on the other dogs), that these might be a difficult case due to Sally's emotion issues, and that you were a unique match b/c of your experience with Pyrs etc. Would they pls break down the fees for you?

Then, audibly say "Oh my" or something similar, and remark that these are two big dogs that will require lots of personal care as well as expenses for food. Can you help us out on the fees?

If they won't budge or if they make a perfunctory effort, then very quickly Thank them, explain how those fees will eat up what you've budgeted for the first five years (or something reasonable like that). You have our contact information. If you are able accept fees more inline with the other rescues - XYZ (from above), then please contact us for further discussion. Thank you very much for your time and efforts. Goodbye.

Be very cordial, friendly, and polite, but after they give you the 'unreasonable' counteroffer, "walk away" by hanging up immediately after you say goodbye.

Note, this is not a bluff. They can make up their costs with other dogs. You aren't required to accept unreasonable pricing. So, if you are comfortable walking away, this is the time to show that you are serious. They will either return the call immediately, within one week, or not at all. For their next counteroffer, they may make another token effort, providing all kinds of reasons and costs. Note, that if those costs are reasonable, then you may not be able to afford to care for these dogs, if care is that expensive. And, you can tell them that.

If they will accept XYZ, then You are excited to take both dogs and ready with a "rehabilitation (?)" plan for Sally. Otherwise, if they have a second candidate who can take both dogs and can work with Sally, as well as afford these costs, now may be the time to call them. Please let us know. Thank you. Goodbye.

Note: This one is a bluff. If they really have a second candidate, they may go to that family.

But, if they don't counteroffer within a week, time to move on.

This is one negotiation option. Y'all will have to decide what fees are appropriate and how you want to negotiate with them. I imagine that most ppl don't negotiate and that the Rescue counts on that, and on ppl getting attached to the dogs, as well as not wanting to wait on an extended process.

It's nice to help out Rescues ... but Sally is 'damaged goods' and there is no reason for the Rescue to expect you to pay a premium for damaged goods, when you might be able to go to a breeder to get a puppy with a known background and history for a lower fee.

BTW, I have always adopted Rescues ... but I avoid unreasonable organizations.
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Roller Coaster, much? ;-) Sounds like y'all've done everything prudent, and you have a little assurance that if Sally is too much, you have a safety net. .... Yeah, right! ;-) You know that once she gets tangled in your heartstrings, you'll never let go .... Been there, doing that! Although not the "double mint" way.

Anyway, back to serious. It'll take a couple of weeks or months for Sally to settle in to normal for her. Baylor sounds fine, but you might use Shae as a secondary name, with 'Sally' continuing as the primary, [one less thing for her to adapt to] until you feel that she has settled.

Note: I don't like the name Mikee, but he was so skittish, I didn't change it, plus he is very responsive to that name. On the other hand, just like everyone else, I have lots of different names for him, in private, depending on circumstances. In therapy, we use 'Mickey' or 'Mickey Mouse' [don't tell Disney!], and both he and the Seniors or the kids love that working name. Quoting a different comedian, he didn't 'care what you called him, as long as you remembered to call him for dinner!'
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