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I'm so sorry for you loss. We all deal in different ways. I can only tell you how it was for me.

Sometime ago, because I'm the kind who grieves and swears she'll never have another dog (and once went without for several years until a prowler inspired me to get another), I decided to always have two dogs of different ages. So when I lost my heart dog, I still had another dog. In fact two.

Even so it was a year before I stopped puddling up every time I thought of Schara or someone mentioned her, and there's no use pretending I felt the same about the other dogs I still had.

I may never feel the same way about another dog, but I've loved them all in different ways, and they've each been their own different, unique selves. And it's not that Schara was perfect, just that her imperfections didn't bother me and her strengths were things that mattered to me. We fit.

And last year I got a puppy of a different breed who is different in many ways from any dog I had before. He isn't and won't ever be what Schara was, but I have to say I'm thoroughly enchanted with him.

IMO you don't manage expectations. You try not to have expectations and approach each new dog knowing you have a unique individual you're going to get to know and appreciate for what he or she is, not for what he isn't.

That said, you also choose a dog that you can appreciate. For instance, for me that means nothing that's a barker, nothing with a lot of coat. Since I still hope to compete in some dog sports, I need a dog from one of the breeds that tends to be human cooperative, as opposed to some of the northern breeds I love for their looks and attitude.

Good luck. You'll find you way,
 
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