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Should I Get Another Pet?
When to adopt a new pet after, or even before, a much-loved companion has died is a dilemma for many people. It may help to consider the following:
 
  • Try not to rush into decisions until you have time to sort out your feelings. Well-meaning family, friends, and even veterinary professionals may suggest a new animal as a means of comfort and support.
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  • Examine your motivation to get a new pet. Be mindful of "replacing" the one that died. If you compare your new pet with the memories of your deceased pet, you may be disappointed. Even if animals are the same breed, each is very different. It is important to consider the needs, behaviors, and lifestyle of a new animal and how they may differ from those of the animal who died.
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  • Another pet may help you heal. For some people, the companionship of a new pet may be comforting during this difficult time.
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  • Grieve the loss of your beloved pet. Some people are not able to bond with a new pet right away. The desire to adopt a new animal immediately following the death of pet can be driven by the need to avoid the pain of grief. Giving yourself time to first heal from the loss may help you to welcome a new pet with open arms.
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  • Check in with the entire family. Be sure everyone is ready to commit to the new relationship. The time frame may be different for everyone. Bringing a new pet into the family before all members are ready can hurt or offend someone by implying that the pet's death is relatively insignificant. Children may perceive a message that loved ones are easily replaced.
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  • Consider becoming a "foster parent." By fostering an animal through a local animal rescue group, you'll provide temporary housing for an orphaned pet that is awaiting permanent adoption. You'll provide a necessary service while testing your own readiness without a long-term commitment. If the fostered animal fits well into your life, permanent adoption could be an option.
If you feel you have grieved and want to open yourself again to a new relationship, your heart is probably telling you that you are ready. For some, there is no better medicine for a hurting heart than the love of another pet, while for others the best medicine is time. Whoever you are, only you know what is best for you.
Girl kissing yellow lab

 

Contact Us:
Colorado State University
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
300 West Drake Road
Fort Collins, Colorado, 80523

Phone:
​(970) 297-1242

Fax:
(970) 297-1205

If you are at the CSU VTH:
Ask for your medical team to introduce us or have a receptionist page us.
 
If you are outside of the CSU VTH:
Call our clinic line at: (970) 297-1242