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Determining getting a new pet after death can be an excruciating decision for you. This decision oftentimes has people going back and forth, never seeming to reach a decision they feel a hundred percent confident about.

Unfortunately, the loss of our pets is inescapable since their lifespans are not as long as ours. Still, it doesn’t lessen the pain of loss in any way. Your grief is still going to be felt, and you are going to feel alone if you don’t have other critters in your household.

Consider This When Getting a New Pet After Death

For some of my clients, opening their heart to a new pet to invite into their home right after their companion dies is extremely helpful. Yet, for other clients, it can take a long time before they are ready. For some, they never are able to have another pet because the pain is so intense.

Making a decision to get another pet is a personal choice for you to make.

My Client Angela and Her Family

They couldn’t imagine a home without a cat, and they remedied it very quickly after their Apricot died. They couldn’t stand coming home and not having the cheerful meows of Apricot running towards them, welcoming them home. To Angela, getting a new pet after death quickly eased her distress and brought happiness. For her, it was the right choice.

Meet My Client Azia

Yet my client Azia needed to grieve her loss of Curry much longer before she felt ready to adopt another pet. She felt that she needed the time to grieve so that she could work through her feelings without having a new dog to distract her.

For Azia, this was the sensible thing to do because she wanted to be sure that she didn’t “replace” Curry or express grief in front of her new dog. She also didn’t want to feel disloyal to Curry by opening her heart to another companion.

Your Timeframe for Getting A New Pet After Death

While some people are like Angela and want a new pet right away and other people are like Azia and want to wait a while before they are ready, there are others that have no timeframe at all. They make the choice to wait as long as it takes until the right pet comes along.

Most of my clients go through varying levels of anguish about inviting another pet into their lives after the death of their beloved companion. It is a very common feeling, and it is normal. By reading the story of Angela and Azia, I hope you will be able to trust where you are at with your journey of grief to make the best decision for you.

8 Tips to Keep in Mind

  1. When getting a new pet after death and welcoming another pet into your family, no matter where you are with your grief, this action can trigger feelings of loss that you thought you had already dealt with. It can challenge you to deal with grief feelings on a deeper level, which can be uncomfortable, surprising, and uninvited.
  2. There is no right or wrong time to bring another pet into your life. It’s really up to you. There are some things to consider to be sure that you are truly ready, but there are no hard-and-fast rules for making this decision.
  3. Try not to make a hasty decision getting a new pet after death. Give yourself time to grieve and think. Don’t let anyone tell you what the right decision is or pressure you into getting a pet.
  4. Your new pet should not be considered a “replacement” for your previous pet. Replacement relationships are not healthy, and when you build a new relationship with a new pet, your memories and experiences will be different, unique, and very special to the two of you.
  5. It is important to involve all family members in the decision to invite a new pet into the household. In particular, consider the needs and feelings of your children. They can easily feel that having a new pet in the home can be disloyal to the previous pet. Everyone in the family needs to have their chance to properly grieve.
  6. Since your new pet begins a new relationship with you, it can be very difficult to heal your grief by naming the new pet the same as your previous pet’s name. Try and come up with a new name that reflects the personality of the pet and their special antics, personality, characteristics, etc.
  7. Having the expectation that your new pet will learn, do, respond, or have the same character traits as your previous pet is not respectful to your new pet. As an alternative, enjoy your new pet as a unique being with a ton of love, fun, and enjoyment to give you. Be excited by the differences and quirkiness.
  8. If you have other pets in the house, consider whether they will enjoy or resent a new pet. Some pets mourn the loss of a companion, so it will be important for their health and well-being to support the grief of the surviving pet.

Similarly, to the case studies in this article and the 8 Tips to Keep in Mind, getting a new pet after death really depends on how comfortable you are with the stage of grief that you are at.

If you feel that your grief no longer affects the way you experience your daily life. Both of which I talk about in my books consider getting a new pet.

A Reminder

When my clients tell me they were at the humane society and found the perfect pet, yet they still question if the time is right, I remind them to step back, take a breath, and trust what they are feeling in their hearts. If there is confusion or doubt, it may mean they are still not ready, and that is okay. But, if the “heart-melt” overcomes the uncertainty, then it may be the perfect time.

Try This!

Finally, if you are not convinced that you are ready for getting a new pet after death, there is always the option to volunteer at your humane society or local rescue group. You would be able to spend time cuddling, socializing, and maybe even fostering a pet in need.

You will be able to share the love in your heart and receive comfort in knowing that you are doing something good. This is an excellent way to discover a new furry companion when you least expect it!

Insight for Getting Another Pet After Death

When you are prepared let yourself begin the process of knowing when you are ready to bring another pet into your life and how you will go about finding the pet that melts your heart! ~ Wendy Van de Poll, MS, CEOL

Healing Steps

  1. Are you ready to get another pet now? If so, list the reasons why. After making your list, do you still feel like you are ready?
  2. If you are not ready to welcome another pet into your life now, can you list the reasons why? Can you change those reasons into positive statements that help you process your feelings of grief?
  3. How do you see your process of inviting another pet into your home unfolding? What does that look like? Will you rescue, foster, volunteer, or something else?