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ISO: Advice on adopting after recent losses

5052 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 don't think there is a right or wrong here. I won't ever forget an older woman who came into our shelter the week she lost her small dog. We happened to have a small dog of similar breed. She immediately adopted him and named him after her deceased dog. I think she quite literally "replaced" her lost dog with this new one. But there was no harm in it and for that woman, it was the right decision.

Any guilt you might feel from looking at other dogs, sending in applications, etc. are your own. No one is judging you, and as you mentioned it is a deeply personal decision.

My story is, I intentionally got a puppy when Soro was 11 years old. Still healthy enough, but slowing down for sure. I wanted a 'project' and I wanted to have a dog who could be outside with me when Soro couldn't anymore. I know that there was the possibility that things didn't pan out exactly as I wanted. But for me, it did. It did not make Sor's death any easier. But having Brae helped me keep my day to day structure (going outside, engaging with a dog, eating, etc.) even when it felt like my world was collapsing. Personally, I find new dogs and puppies to be stressful. Joyous, but stressful. Like who is this dog? what work do I need to put in? I could not see myself go through the stress of discovering a new dog while experiencing grief. It helped that I was able to raise Brae when Sor was okay. The inevitable comparing of dogs, shift in routines, training, and ultimately being comfortable with BOTH dogs in my life... All happened when things were good. I needed it to be that way. However, I cannot see myself without a dog. So as it is with most things in life I think there could have been many agreeable outcomes.

Best of luck to you on your journey.
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I am curious Francl, what rescue charges $900 per dog?!

In my shelter (privately funded, about 1300 animals a year), the cost is $100 for an adult dog (includes: altered, chipped, UTD, dewormed, leash+tag+collar, bag of food, any behavior info and handouts they could possibly want). $200 for a puppy. $250 for "ambassador pets" (ex. purebred 2 yo golden retriever with no behavior challenges), which does mean we charge more for highly desirable animals so that their adoption fee 'makes up for' the money we lose on most adoptions. I can think of maybe two ambassador pets we had in all of 2018.

Dog who has been in the shelter for a while that is hard to adopt (ex. severe behavior challenges, in rare cases severe medical)... Sometimes the adoption fee is waived or the animal sponsored. Complimentary private lesson. Sometimes we even send a trainer out to help them get the dog settled in. Difficult dogs who must be placed together... The adoption fee of the second animal is waived. No home checks. No mandatory list of requirements (though specific dogs may have specific placement needs). Our return rate is not higher than the average for other shelters. In fact, it might be lower, not sure...

It just makes sense to make it EASIER for well matched homes to get animals OUT of the shelter, especially animals who are not easily adopted out.

I know this doesn't help your problem, but I'm just offering perspective from a different organization. Honestly, I feel like there are more poorly managed shelters and rescues than good ones...
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