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I think we need another dog, but I'm not sure I'm ready...

(24 Posts)
LetThereBeCupcakes Wed 20-Jan-16 09:15:53

We lost our beautiful 6 year old lab to cancer this weekend. He was diagnosed in October. We're utterly heartbroken.

We have a second dog, who is a rescue and was utterly devoted to our boy and we were worried how she'd cope when we lost him. So when he was diagnosed, we made some tentative enquiries with a couple of rescues and registered with one. We briefly discussed getting a third dog straight away (and the perfect dog came up back in December) but decided against it for a few reasons (cost, coping with 3 big dogs, not knowing how long DDog would live). We thought we might have to move quite quickly after we lost him though.

I was hoping for a bit more time but to be honest our girl isn't coping. She was OK on Monday, but she's now refusing to go for walks and I can start to see that frightened little girl that we brough him four years ago. I'm worried she'll regress back.

In addition, DH's only hobby is agility, which he did with our boy. Our girl can't do it as she has problems with her legs. All of DH's socializing happens through agility.

And one final consideration - I'm pregnant with DC2. Only 7 weeks but I'd rather get a second dog sooner, as I'd like as much time as possible to settle him / her before the baby arrives.

We're experienced dog owners. I've studied canine behaviour and run training classes, so we know what we're doing.

Every practical consideration points to getting a dog ASAP (so long as we can find the right one), but it just feels like betraying our lovely boy. And if I'm honest, I wonder what other people will think (though most of our friends are people who have 4 / 5 dogs each anyway so I suppose won't think much of it TBH). But then I think we've got an empty bed, and an empty bowl, and somewhere there's a dog in a kennel that needs some love.

I realise I've rambled. What would others do? I'm so torn.

Thissameearth Wed 20-Jan-16 09:21:32

You sound so lovely. I'm really sad for you about your boy. The only reason against is betraying your beautiful lab but you know you're absolutely not doing that. one vote for going ahead with homing a dog, whilst you're sad but full of love flowers

tabulahrasa Wed 20-Jan-16 09:29:57

It's an entirely personal thing, if you feel ready - you're ready, it doesn't matter if it's been days or years.

CMOTDibbler Wed 20-Jan-16 09:33:10

I'm sorry about your boy, but you wouldn't be betraying him in anyway. Anyone who loves animals knows the hole left by losing one, and how the time taken to bring another animal into your home and heart doesn't reflect on how much you loved them at all.

cuntinghomicidalcardigan Wed 20-Jan-16 09:38:04

You sound like the perfect family for a rescue dog but you have to be ready. If it helps, I wouldn't think of it as replacing your boy but expanding your family, for the good of your girl and your husband. I'm sure as soon as you see the right dog you'll love them for themselves. Would you consider a different breed or colour? Don't rush, when you find the right dog you'll know.

Sorry for your loss flowers

PouletDePrintemps Wed 20-Jan-16 09:46:43

I am sorry for the loss of your much loved dog. It is so, so tough.

I know it is easier to say than to do sometimes, but never base any decision on what other people might think. It is clear from your post that you loved your dog deeply, and I am sure anyone who really knows you will know that too.

And far from it being a betrayal, I am sure your boy would want you to do what was best for your girl.

BestIsWest Wed 20-Jan-16 09:47:51

I'm so sorry.

We lost our boy to cancer in August and we were devastated. We knew we wanted another dog but like you, it felt like a betrayal. I posted on here and a wise mumsnetter said that when a dog dies they take a piece of your heart and when you get another dog they give you a piece of their heart to make yours whole. It took us a couple of months and was a bit sooner than I thought I was ready but we got a new boy at the end of October and he's been an absolute dream. I think of our old dog every day and miss him terribly but it would be so much harder without our new dog.

It might take a while for you to find the right dog anyway.

SecretNutellaFix Wed 20-Jan-16 10:17:40

It's so far from betraying the memory of your old lad it's unbelievable.

You are in a position to open your home to a new canine family member and give them the love and security he had. Your current dog misses having a companion, and you've said has regressed from where she had got to?

I've not had a dog for 5 years now and we are not in a place financially/ time wise to have one, but the best way to honour the memory of a much loved family pet is to open your heart and get another one. We would in a heatrbeat if circumstances were different for us.

DogStuff Wed 20-Jan-16 10:33:32

So sorry flowers

Could you do it for your other dog, rather than you, if you feel guilty? I guess your lovely boy wouldn't have wanted your other dog to suffer and feel friendless.

Cheerfulmarybrown Wed 20-Jan-16 12:18:26

Owning dogs for me is a way of life. Daily walks, training and agility are a fundamental part of my life. I will always have dogs. I do not replace dogs that die I just experience a new dogsmile

Go for it and call it CPD......your OH needs to get out their doing agility again.

BernardsarenotalwaysSaints Wed 20-Jan-16 14:30:34

It's so hard isn't it?! We got our current Saint 2 months ago. We'd only lost her litter sister 2 weeks before & hadn't intended to look for another until about now but her breeder (& owner) asked if I could help. We then had the dilemma of did we take the other sister as well. It was a heartbreaking decision but we decided not to. While we have the room & experience for 2 we also have a baby (7 months) who is about to become mobile & I think I would have struggled to give them the individual attention they'd have neededwith settling. Sorry none of that was very helpful

RE settling. I've read in a few different dog books (breed specific & general) that it takes a dog 3 days to get used to the idea of it's new home, 3 weeks to really get used to your routines & 3 months to fully be 'home'. I've anecdotally found it to be true. So it might be worth taking in to account before you make a decision.

Pippin8 Wed 20-Jan-16 18:52:42

We lost our boy in November & thought we'd wait at least 6 months before we even considered another.

6 weeks later we bought home our new girl. It just felt right. Shes not replaced him, as she's so different & a different breed. I think go for it. No time is ever the ideal time.

Crumpet1 Wed 20-Jan-16 18:57:57

Sorry about your dog 😞
Personally I would get another dog sooner rather than later with your pregnancy progressing, for me it would either be now or when the baby is a bit older.
Also it sounds as if your dog is in desperate need of a companion. Do you think she would take well to a new friend?

I think you should move forward with finding another dog, if you fall in love with one you'll know it's meant to be. Your lovely dog wouldn't want you to be sad flowers

CaptainKit Thu 21-Jan-16 15:12:09

I would go for it. I'm saying this as the foolish person who got her second dog at roughly the same stage of pregnancy as you're at, except I was silly and when the rescue showed me a 9 week old pup I didn't say 'actually something older would probably be better'. I'm 36 weeks now and pup has settled right in with my other dog.

When I lost my previous dog it was to cancer - she had osteosarcoma, so it was all very quick and very had to deal with (when's it ever easy?) but pretty much straight away I knew I needed to get another dog; I was living on my own and relied on her for social interaction - getting me out on dog walks, going to training classes - she was a lifeline for me when I was going through some hard times. So within the month of losing her I was bringing home a terrified Romanian rescue who needed me as much as I needed him.

Sounds like your girl would really benefit from the right dog joining your family, your husband too. You have a home already proven to be good for two dogs, and there are so many out there in need of such a home that it would be doing a good thing in your dog's memory rather than replacing him. There is no replacing a beloved family member, just opening your door to a new dog in need.

LimeJellyHead Fri 22-Jan-16 09:55:10

I was wondering how you were getting on flowers

It sounds a lot like how we were 7 years ago when our dog Boycie died. 2 weeks after he passed I couldn't bear to see his empty bed, unused bowl etc... and I wondered if Berkeley would like a new pal too. I was worried it was too soon and it was disloyal to Boycie but then I thought of his kind heart and how he would have shared anything he had with a dog in need. I also could not bear the thought of all those poor dogs in rescue and here we were with a home, spare bed and everything. Then I came across this poem and that was that.... off we went to help another rescue dog.

Before I post the poem, I would like to say that in hindsight it was too soon for me really. I struggled a bit to let her into my heart and even now, 7 years later, I am still slightly distant from her. It has never been an issue really as she is much more my husbands dog and Berkeley was mine. My feeling is that everything is telling you to go for it. Your heart might not be quite ready yet but I hope this poem, written from the point of view of the dog who has passed, stops you worrying about it being an act of betrayal. And congrats on the bubba news, BTW smile

The Legacy

When humans die, they make a will
To leave their homes and all they have
To those they love.
I, too, would make a will if I could write.

To some poor wistful, lonely stray
I leave my happy home.
My dish, my cosy bed, my cushioned chair, my toy.
The well loved lap, the gentle stroking hand,
The loving voice.
The place I made in someone's heart.
The love that at last could help me to
A peaceful, painless end,
Held in loving arms.

If I should die, Oh do not say,
"No more a pet I'll have,
To grieve me by it's loss"
Seek out some lonely, unloved dog
And give my place to him.
This is the legacy I leave behind -
Tis all I have to give.

--author unknown

honeyroar Fri 22-Jan-16 21:47:02

Oh BestisWest, that may have been me that said that (but I'm not wise), so glad it helped you find your way to finding your way to your next dog to love.

OP I'm sorry about your dog. I think you sound as though you've thought everything through and would give a lovely home (to that dog waiting for a home somewhere that you mentioned). You'll never replace your lovely dog, he will always be there in your heart and your memory. You'll just be letting another one in. There will be new, different memories with the next dog.

And if you weren't ready yet, know that your other dog will probably relax a bit in the next few weeks. She's in shock and has to adjust. My last dog took a couple of weeks to relax after our other dog died. She did seem nervous meeting other dogs, he was always first in line.

BestIsWest Fri 22-Jan-16 22:22:04

Thank you Honey, it really helped me.

sulee Sat 23-Jan-16 18:32:20

Not much to add really. We lost our lovely rescue dog and the house seemed empty with just one dog. I steeled myself to go to the same rescue to "have a look." Two weeks later we were back to two dogs. DD3 will never replace our old boy, but I felt he would have approved of us giving one of his cell-mates a chance of a few years of happiness. Love new dog as much as last one- just in a different way!

JohnCusacksWife Sat 23-Jan-16 18:58:44

I'm so sorry for your loss. We lost our old boy at 15 on 10 Aug. I was devastated and looking back now, grief stricken. Non-dog people wouldn't get that but it's true. I missed my boy, his unconditional love, getting out for walks (I need solitude and headspace otherwise I'm not a nice person to live with). I realised v quickly that the only thing that would make me feel better was a new dog to love. it wasn't that I was replacing my old boy but just that I needed a new dog to love. It took me a few weeks to convince DH but on 31 Oct we got our new boy. He's made me feel so much better I can't tell you. I still miss my old boy every day and still cry when I think of him. New boy isn't a replacement for him - that would be impossible. But he is a joy in his own right and it's an adventure getting to know a new dog. All I know is I need a dog in my life to keep me sane. Don't worry what others think - do what's right for you and your family. Good luck x

DramaAlpaca Sat 23-Jan-16 19:25:58

We lost our old girl in May and our other dog was bereft, as were we. It took a while to find the right pup, but in August our new boy came home. He has healed us all, including our other dog. She hated him for the first week, but then they bonded and they've been inseparable ever since.

LetThereBeCupcakes Sun 24-Jan-16 07:52:33

Thank you everybody for your lovely messages. Sorry not to have replied sooner, it's been a tough week what with losing DDog, awful morning sickness and DS' 3rd birthday.

We have registered with a couple of rescues and are keeping an eye on their websites. I think it's going to be a long slog as most of the dogs say not suitable with children. Hopefully the right dog is out there somewhere.

CaptainKit Mon 25-Jan-16 23:12:32

Might be worth taking a trip to one of the bigger rescues - CapPup came from Dogs Trust and had only been there a few days when I went to visit. The staff said that many dogs don't make it on to the websites because they find homes quickly - logically thinking, they're likely to be the more family-ready dogs.

LetThereBeCupcakes Tue 26-Jan-16 08:08:45

captain we actually have 3 dogs on a shortlist at the moment. We are going to see one this afternoon. She's a 9 month old setter cross. DH is very excited, I'm a little more cautious. I had a really vivid dream about our boy last night which has put a bit of a dampener on things. This dog looks perfect on paper but it's happened so fast. We'll just have to see what happens.

We've become quite good friends with the lady who cared for our girl when she was in the rescue, and she has said to speak to her if we need to as they will prioritise us due to ddog. So we have plenty of options.

tadpole39 Tue 26-Jan-16 09:48:28

Hi cup, good luck this afternoon. We lost our 12 yr old westie last summer, and quite quickly found a mongrel pup at many tears. I have been amazed at the different relationship he has with the dcs who only knew are other dog as an adult. They adore him and play with him in a way that they didn't before, he has brought a new dimension to our lives, and made us tremendously popular! Also can't praise many tears enough, it was a tricky time, the first pup we picked had a catastrophic fit, and was not able to be rehomed and we had all kinds of issues going to pick up our pup but they were nothing but calm and helpful. As one man said to me, we like to perform miracles!

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