In January I had BlackDog put down. She was my "one in a lifetime" dog, my most devoted companion and I was devastated (and even now I have moments where I still am) As we have never only had one dog we recently got a working cocker puppy. The idea being that we would work him with our other cocker but also that he would be so significantly different to BlackDog there would be no way he could be seen as a replacement. So at 4 1/2 weeks we chose a confident but not overly pushy dog pup (nothing like BlackDog who was a bitch quite spirited) he came home at a little before 8 weeks. Now I am not a believer in reincarnation and what nots but this puppy is progressively turning into BlackDog He has the same food obsession, he leans on me the same way she did, he sleeps in the spots I KNOW she would have picked (recently moved house) he plays DH up the way she did. It's quite unsettling to sub-consciously witness this behaviour and look down to see that there is a small white boy in the place where a big black girl used to be In some ways it is like she is still here, at other times it is deeply sad, like when I put my hand down and I cannot touch his head because he is so small. But today having him has allowed me to take her lead out of my pocket. It has been there since I took her to the vets for the last time but now it is hanging on the lead hook by the door. The very act of doing this has made me really sad again but not in the way that I would have been a couple of months ago. So to anyone who has lost a much loved dog, be gentle with yourself and know that while it does not get better, it does get easier.