By: Andrew Kennedy
Animals bring so much life and joy into our homes. Their companionship and their personalities help make them central members of our families. Once they join us, it’s difficult to imagine life without them. This is why it can be so difficult when the family pet passes away. It’s also why some of us make the mistake of rushing into adopting a new pet afterward. We’re trying to fill the immense void they’ve left behind.
It is difficult to know exactly how long to take before adopting a new pet. After all, every family is different, and there’s no time frame that will work best for everybody. However, there are a few elements to consider that can help you make the most appropriate decision based on your situation.
It should probably go without saying that you don’t want to jump headfirst into adopting a pet immediately after your last one has passed away. From a practical perspective, much of your time is likely on more pressing matters — closing down pet insurance, settling your account with your vet. If you’re planning a memorial, your attention is probably going to be split between asking questions such as “how can I find out where to buy an urn for my pet?” or “where is the most appropriate place to scatter the ashes?”. Introducing a new pet into your family requires and deserves your utmost attention and patience. Your new furry companion won’t have this attention if your mind is occupied elsewhere.
The days, weeks, and even months following the death of your pet are a time of grieving. Getting a new pet during this dark and upsetting period can be tempting, After all, you’re likely to crave that companionship. However, you shouldn’t feel as though you need to rush into making a decision that is driven by your loss — give yourself time to find the right new addition.
You might not be entirely clear on why it’s not healthy for you, your family, or your potential adoptee. Essentially it comes down to the following factors:
The sad truth is that there’s no strict time frame to invite a new pet into your life after your last one has passed away. Be honest with yourself and seek to understand whether you have mental and emotional space to give to a new adoptee. Keep an open dialogue with your family, too. Have frank conversations with each other on how you each feel about seeking a new pet.
It can be a difficult decision to wait, particularly as we’re all aware of how much pressure shelters are under. However, you can certainly help out by directly donating or nominating a shelter for us to donate to. Volunteering your time can also be a great stepping stone toward adopting your own new furry family member. Think of it as testing the waters, while also doing some good.
Losing a pet is hard on us all. However, we must be careful not to rush into adopting a new member of your family. Take time to grieve, and keep communicating with your family. When you feel the time is right, you’ll find that both you and your new pet will have a much more positive experience.
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A cuddly celebration of your furry best friends!