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October 25, 2018 by OVRS Staff

The loss of a precious pet is one of the hardest things a pet owner can imagine, and the process of grieving and coming to acceptance takes time. This period of time is different for everyone, and the extent of the grieving process is unique to the individual. However, for most pet lovers, a house is just not a home without a loving purr or a wagging tail.

Eventually, many decide to open their hearts and homes to a new furry pal, but wonder when is the right time to adopt another best friend. There are many factors in choosing to adopt another loved one after the loss of a pet, and we are here to help guide you through this hopeful process.

Loss Of A Pet
Grief comes in five stages:
denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Those who have lost a dear pet are not immune to this process. Some may continue to grieve for several months, unable to imagine any other pet companion; while others may find comfort in being around new animals. This important time can be honored in the way that best suits you. Yes, wisdom discourages running out to adopt while still in the throes of sadness, but only you know when the time is right to adopt.

When You’re Ready To Adopt
If you have decided that you are ready to adopt a pet, you may be wondering about timing, how it will feel with an entirely new pet companion in the home, how to deal with any emotions that may come up, and a number of other concerns.

Here are a few suggestions from your friends at OVRS:

Choose your own timing.
We want to emphasize this because there are likely numerous opinions that may or may not dissuade you from adopting. Be true to what feels right for you. If you believe you are ready and have the means to bring in another wonderful critter, then the time is now.

Understand that love is abundant.
Just because you lost your best friend, the love you have to give another deserving pet is there. Love is never-ending and by opening your heart, you will reap the rewards of this opportunity to deeply care for a new pet.

Memories will come.
When bringing a new pet into the home, there may be memories that arise that remind you of your departed pet, such as a placement of the food bowl or favorite sleeping spot in the sun. These memories may come with a sense of heartache, but they can also remind you of the important memories you created during your pet’s incredible life with you.

It will be different.
When you share a strong bond with a pet, it’s hard to imagine ever bonding with any other. This is a natural feeling, and you may even experience a bit of guilt if you choose to adopt. Remember that each pet is unique. Your new four-legged friend will have so much to share, too. It will be different, and it will grow into another wonderful bond.

Keep an open mind.
As with any new beginnings, relaxing and remaining open-minded will help while you adjust to your pet. By being open-minded, you will come to see some amazing qualities in your adoptee and allow them to fully blossom into the best and healthiest fur friend they can be.
Enjoy the process…all of it.There will be waves of emotion, little reminders of your departed pet, frustrations with housetraining, a few puddles, getting to know your new friend, and all the feels! It is a process; whether dealing with endings or beginnings, the flux is always constant. Try to enjoy this. Every little bit. Over time, you and your new pet will have a lasting bond that is unimaginably rich, meaningful, and joyful.

Celebrations After The Loss Of A Pet
When you lose an old companion, it is never easy. The road to healing a broken heart may be long. Just as you have the opportunity to celebrate a newly adopted animal, so, too, you can celebrate the life of your departed pet in many ways. From memorial garden plaques or stepping stones to donating to a favorite rescue in your pet’s honor, the love you shared will never leave.

If we can help answer any questions about healing from the loss of a pet or adopting a wonderful new little being, your friends at OVRS are here for you.
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I'm sharing this article that I found very helpful. I know many here have been faced with the question or thought of adoption after loss. This decision is very very personal as there is no one answer that fits all.

Personally speaking I know I will adopt again.
My suggestion is to first visit and interact with animals up for adoption before making a final decision. If seeing another pet brings you to tears immediately then perhaps it's not time yet. If on the other hand it brings good feelings (although nothing will erase the loss) then you can continue interacting until you choose a pet (or they choose you).

I hope this helps anyone that's wondering about the decision or those who have gone through with the decision already to understand that different emotions that will be surfacing.
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Hi Ginger's Mom,

The copy of your article hits close to home.  My journey of grief and ultimately adoption after loss is documented on this forum.  It has been 1 year almost to the day when I welcomed home a new little puppy after losing my companion of 12 years, Daisy.  My attempts to adopt again would fail one after the next for different reasons and I finally turned to the forum for advice.  My anxiety was so high and I felt I did not have a lot of support at home but the kind people on this forum calmed my fears, told me it was normal and that what I was feeling was okay.  It was not smooth sailing in the beginning, nor did we bond immediately, but over time we grew together and now I have absolutely no regrets and a wonderful 1 year old companion.

You are right the decision to adopt again takes a lot of thought and soul searching.  Not everyone will be on the same time line but it can be a very rewarding experience to give another dog or cat a wonderful life full of love!
Lori, Daisy's Mom and now Luna's Mom
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Hi Lrogers424,

Firstly let me offer you my condolences for the loss of Daisy. I'm grateful for your honest response. That is didn't begin smoothly but that over time you did bond. And that it was perfectly ok to experience a mix of emotions.

I've sensed a "Tug of war" on this topic for some not only on this site but online in general. On one end some view adoption after loss as disloyalty to the deceased pet and a denial of the grieving process. On the other hand some view non adoption as fear of new loss and being stuck in a grieving stage. I can understand both ends of the coin.

I'm glad you agree that at the end of day though it is a very personal choice and no two paths are the same.

I have yet to adopt. I know I will soon though. It's been incredibly helpful for me to learn from your experience. That I might have second thoughts at first, but that eventually will learn a new rhythm with a new fur baby.

Thank you
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