Adopting a Pet After a Loss

Animal Shelter

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was a psychiatrist who dealt with death and dying and introduced what is known as the the 5 stages of grief.

Denial – shock and numbness

Anger – rage at everyone and everything and pain beyond belief

Bargaining – promising to do anything to spare a loved one or bring them back, “if onlys”, unbearable pain of loss

Depression – withdrawal from life, intense sadness

Acceptance – not that the loss is okay, but the reality of it so we can resume our lives

Not everyone experiences all the stages of grief. Intense grief can can last for a short time, but the stages can seem to go on forever.

We are often asked the question, when is the right time to adopt a pet after the loss of one.

The answer is simple – when YOU feel you are ready. There is no timeline, bringing a new pet home can be almost immediately or a long time or somewhere inbetween. Children appear to be able to handle getting a new pet sooner than adults. Try to examine your reason(s) for adopting another pet. When adopting a new pet, we are not replacing the one that is gone. It is important to be ready to accept the new pet for its own personality and not compare it to the lost one.

Many of us find it difficult to face the loneliness of an empty house after such a loss. Even if we have other pets, there can be a space in our hearts that needs to be filled. As pet lovers, we always feel there is room for one more.

When considering adding another pet to your life, please think about adopting from a shelter or rescue. There are so many pets who need loving homes.

Think about adopting an adult pet. The advantage is skipping the “terrible twos”, early months. They are usually house-trained and are over the chewing everything in sight stage. You know the size of your pet and shelters can usually give you a good insight into their personalities.

Remember to be patient. Shelter pets may take a bit of time getting used to their new environment. They may need some re-training. After all, they’ve been through some traumatic experiences.

Once you’ve adjusted to each other, there arr none more loving and loyal then a shelter pet.

Whether you choose a pet from a shelter, rescue or a breeder, think of it as a gift from your pet that has gone to the Rainbow Bridge.

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