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After The Death Of A Pet: How Soon Is Too Soon To Get A New Companion?
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After the Death Of A Pet: How Soon is Too Soon to Get A New Companion?

The family pet is more than just a cat or a dog, they are like another child to most people. But, with the exception of some types of birds, most family pets are not really imbued with very long lives. And, like our loved ones, sometimes they get sick and even pass away before we are ready to see them go. When a pet dies, how long should you grieve before contemplating a new pet?

The experts cannot agree on an exact time period that is right because every family grieves differently. In the case of extreme sadness or upset, it might be necessary to allow a little time to go by before shopping for a new pet. It is important that no one refer to the new family member as a "replacement" so that the children do not become afraid that they too will be replaced. It is also important to be direct and honest with the family, even the younger family members about what has happened to the pet. Don't say that Skippy ran away for instance, because the child will start seeing his dog everywhere. Skippy isn't moving to a farm nor did he just like the vet's office better. This is a hard lesson but a necessary one for your child to learn. It is better that you serve as a gentle guide through the dying process than to try to shield them through the natural order of things.

Not everyone will be ready for a new family member right away. If the majority of the family is willing to consider a new pet but one person is a little more reluctant, give that person a little time to warm up to the pet. In most cases, the pet will warm up even the most stubborn person with just a little bit of time. Don't force it, let the pair bond on their own time.

For some people, the death of a pet can be so tragic that they will choose a new pet the next time. For instance, avowed dog lovers might get a cat after their canine companion passes away. Some will choose a different breed or a pet of a completely different appearance. There is no right or wrong here. It is important to choose what is right for your family, to grieve as you see fit and then to take the next step in your healing process, whatever that step might be and whenever the time seems right to take it.


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  about 5 years ago
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