I find it very difficult to even begin this article but I will first tell you how it came about.
I have a dear friend, Kathy, who moved away to New Hampshire some years ago.
I spoke to her last night after not being in touch for a long time.
During our conversation she asked me about my beloved Bichon "Buffy" and I had to tell her Buffy passed away about 6 months ago at age 13.
She had also lost her cat "Fallon" of 15 years so we consoled each other and spent several minutes recalling happy times in the past with our pets.
We both are animal people and could not see our lives without a pet.
She has another cat and I shall not embarrass myself by saying how many dogs I have.
Buffy was very special and I loved her dearly, but I do not love my other dogs less or feel guilty because she is gone.
She lived a long and happy life and I could only wish the same for my other pets.
When people lose a pet there is definitely a void created by the loss of companionship and comfort it provided in this otherwise stressful world.
They often feel guilty getting another dog as if it was replacing the one that died.
This is the part I cannot understand.
If their owner died the dog would adapt to a new owner.
People should not deny themselves the pleasures of pet ownership out of some misplaced allegiance to the one who passed away.
The pet that passed will always have a special place in their heart, as Buffy has in mine, but these wonderful people should realize it's a blessing to give another dog such a wonderful life.
People who get divorced or lose a spouse re-marry.
Everyone has a right to be happy.
Many people delude themselves into thinking that if something happened to them their dog would just wither away and die.
Sadly, that is far from the truth.
As a person who boards dogs and spends a lot of time with other people's pets, I know first hand; most dogs may take as little as a week or as much as a month to readjust but the vast majority of them do.
I have a dog boarding with me now that is 10 years old.
She has been here for a month and she is as happy as a clam.
She enjoys the company of the other dogs (has no other dogs in her real home), she loves the daily brushing (which I don't think she gets at home) and follows me all over and kisses me up.
Most dogs that are forced to change homes, adjust quickly if the new people are good to them.
The people who come to me, often to "just look" usually leave with a new baby and are so happy they did.
My feeling is, take some time to grieve if you feel you need it but give a home to a new baby who needs you.
It will make you both happy.