Ten years ago, I lost my toy fox terrier after having him for ten years.  A month later, I got Poncho, my little chihuahua, who died a month ago.  I've had dogs all my life, but losing Poncho has by far been the hardest!  I can't even type the words without tears.  He was the love of my life, and I still feel like I'm dying inside after a month.

Poncho had a lot of health problems, starting at a year old. (I got him at 3 months)  I loved him SO much, there wasn't anything I wouldn't do for him.  My husband figured we had over $30,000. invested in my baby, so jokingly I would call him my "little national bank"!  There were SO many tests, and so many surgeries during his 9+ years.

I don't work so I have been home every day with my dogs.  I get so attached to them that I don't want to leave them for any reason!  Every time I had to go to the grocery store or a doctor appointment, it was stressful for ME, as well as Poncho! He was good though; he'd get in his bed till I got back...I was the one who worried and didn't want to be away from him!  I hated being away from him!! I always said if anything happened to me where I needed to be in the hospital, I wouldn't go because I could never leave Poncho!

Now, he's gone.  For the first time in 20 years, I go to the bathroom by myself, I have no" little one" at home to worry about if I have to go somewhere.  It feels so strange....the house feels strange too.

My question.....I will be 60 this year.  Part of me wants another chihuahua, and a part of me doesn't.  The void Poncho has left is killing me, but the thoughts of going through health problems again makes me not want anymore.  I could never go back to my regular vet again...that's where Poncho died. (my story is on here somewhere)
I could also never go back to the emergency hospital because we spent so much time there.  I also worry about something happening to me, and I wouldn't want to leave another one. Does this make sense??  I guess I just get TOO attached....I KNOW I do. I am an animal lover and it kills me to see one hurt or suffering in any way. I just wish they lived longer....the pain of losing them is almost unbearable!!  I'm hurting so bad!

My sister, who is 62, said  I was crazy if I ever got another one.  She lost her little dog she had had for 15 years, followed by the death of her husband.  She said she couldn't go through the pain again, and she didn't want to see me go through what I'm going through now again.  My husband is also dying now...he has cancer and refuses medical care. All this money paid out for health insurance, and he won't use it!! A law passed in Virginia allows someone to do this and it's out of my hands.

Which part of "me" do I listen to????? The part that wants to fill this void left by Poncho, or the side that doesn't want to go through death again (of a pet)??  I feel so torn up inside...it's killing me!  In reality, all I really KNOW for sure, is I want Poncho back!! I also KNOW it's impossible.......please give me your thoughts/opinions please.  Family doesn't help...they don't want to see me suffer. I need outside opinions.  By the way, even though my husband will be leaving, I have my 38 yr old daughter and 14 yr old grandson living here with us, so I'm not alone as far as people go...but I am so alone without Poncho. I always felt I could get through anything as long as I had him....please help me.

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Are you in poor health or do you have a condition which will likely limit your years to come?  If not, I would consider your age a non-factor in deciding on whether to adopt a new companion.

The potential for further pain is not an if, but a when.  Unless you don't outlive your pet, you will go through the pain of it passing.  It is a price you must be willing to accept with open eyes upfront.  Keep in mind that the pain could be as bad, or perhaps even worse, than what Poncho's passing has caused you.

Honestly, how can it be any other way if one truly loves someone?

There are countless deserving animals that will not find a loving home for any amount of time.

Obviously, there are no guarantees in life.  Any of us could die at any moment or become physically or mentally incapable of taking care of an animal.

Ask yourself this:

Is providing 10 years of a loving home a gift to a homeless animal?  How about 5 years?  1 year?

Do you think a homeless animal would be willing to take any chance they could at a loving home, regardless of the time they get?

I think these questions are all a rhetorical yes.

If you believe, today, that you will be capable of being a responsible, loving pet owner for years to come, you have your answer.

Perhaps you could plan for a contingency beforehand to ease your mind? 

If you cannot find a person at the moment to take over care, in an unlikely event, perhaps you could draft a financial contingency for guaranteed care of the potential pet in the future?
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Thank you for your help.  No, I don't have any health issues that I know of!  I just get so attached to my pets!  People passing doesn't affect me the way it does when it's my pet.(except if it's a child)  I think that's because people can speak and our pets can't.  To me, losing a pet is like losing your child.  Show me an animal, and I fall in love with it!  Once I have it, I hate leaving it. That's what my sister gets upset about...I stay home all the time when I have a pet!  I just don't like being away from them!
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There seems to be a lot of confusion in your life right now.  And I know how that is.  I've lived long enough and had enough animal kids pass over to be able to say that the older I get the tougher it is to let them go.  I've had friends say they felt the same way, that there's just something about being older that makes it a much more painful thing.  For the first time,  the thought also occured to me that I might not outlive my next furry guy or girl but I can't spend the rest of my life without one.  Every problem has a solution and I'll just have to figure out what to do.  I'll have to make arrangements for their care before I go.  I'd like to make arrangements for him or her before I get them but I know that's not going to happen.

I'm a firm believer in "when the time is right".  When the time is right you'll know it and will know in your heart if your can love another chihuahua.  If you're not sure right now, then now isn't the time.  A good friend has always had chihuahuas and, aside from their normal quirks, hers never had many medical problems and lived long, healthy lives.  Another consideration is that if you're not returning to your regular vet and have vowed never to return to your Pet Emergency then you'll have to find another vet.  And emergencies do happen so if there's no convenient emergency close by, you'll have to go to that same one.

Getting another 4-legged friend is never an easy decision but, if you have the love to share, wait until you're ready otherwise it won't be fair to your new pet.  He or she will pick up your anxiety about them.  When you're ready you'll be free to love them without the worry and fear. 
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You have made me feel so much better.  I thank you for that, Goobiesbf.

I also called my vet and he totally understood and told me who to go to if I get another baby.  There's also another emergency hospital about the same distance as the one we used, but north instead of south of here.  In fact, I have a cousin who is a medical doctor and he uses that emergency hospital for his pets.

You're also so right about the confusion.  There was/is so much pain in my life before Poncho died....but his death has left me a basket case.  I loved and still love him so very very much.  I always felt I could make it through anything as long as I had him. It is so very painful. You are right though, when the time is right I will know.

I bought Poncho from a woman who advertised him in the newspaper.  From what I was told by a chihuahua breeder, the problems he had came from poor breeding. Well, I wouldn't have traded him for anything in this world!  He had the most loving temperament and everywhere he went people commented on that.  He was never a growler or biter...just a little love bug!  The breeder I've talked to said she's been doing this for almost 5 years and breeds for health and temperament. She said she has never had any problems, and that she researches back to grandparents.  Maybe when this pain subsides a little, I'll know what to do.  Poncho died February 12, but it feels like yesterday.

Again, thank you. 

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There Is no wright time to loose a fur baby.  It Is over-whelming at times and other times so sad that you think your heart will sink Into a giant hole and never be seen again.  Little -by- little you crawl out of that dark hole and start to live again.  Forrest will pass and I must go forward for the others that I love so much. Time always has a way of healing or taking. MaRTY

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dalmatian, we were talking about knowing when the time was right to get another fur baby not lose one.  Your analogy of the hole is exactly right!  Thank you for your insight.  I feel like sometimes it's one step forward then two steps back....I try to keep in mind that "time heals".......it's just so devastating and very painful.  I feel so bad for everyone here, but it's relieving to know from those who have been where we are, that it does get better. 
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Pat~ When I was reading your canine cancer thread I hadn't yet read Poncho's story- or your husband's. I am SO sorry for the additional stress you are going through. I wouldn't listen to your sister-- follow your heart and you will know what to do and when the time is right. It's my (unsolicited!) opinion that having a new baby around may help distract you and ease your pain when your husband's time has come. This may not be appropriate, but when I was telling someone that my husband didn't understand my grief at all, and was a little annoyed by my sobbing, they said that if you want to know the difference between a spouse and a dog, lock both of them in the trunk of your car, and when you let them out an hour later, which one is happy to see you? It's the loss of that unconditional love that is the most heart-breaking.

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