Aging Pets and Pet Loss: Is a New Puppy the Answer?
To quote the great and immoratal comedian, George Carlin, “Life is a series of dogs”! How true it is for life long pet owners. Usually most can remember the family dog as a young child, then the dog that guided one through adolescents, and of course the dog that was at your side as you made your vows to your wife, then the dog that… you get the point? But with all these happy moments, pet loss still correlates with these events. With each sad loss, a new beginning ushers one into a new era.
Of course the new friend may be a different. He or she may be different in personality, breed or maybe even species? But the reality is, the new pet can never replace the previous. Dogs throughout our life are like family members and each one is remembered within our hearts for their unique special traits and partnerships they formed with us during a particular phase of our life.
So when one finds a new friend, do not consider it a replacement but an addition to one’s family. A legacy, a continuation of dogs that are all intimately tied to one’s life.
In my particular situation, we have always had a tradition of passing the torch. There is always new life, a puppy, in the house as the previous generation approaches its evening years. In this way, from the first Siberian Husky I grew up with to the latest three that now “own” the home have all in some way been connected by a previous generation that knew the previous one before that.
So the decision to get a puppy does not become a need to overcome sorrow but a continuation of the family which allows the spirits of the previous generations to share with the new. In this way the decision to get a new puppy is always a “yes”.
If you are interested in the Pet Loss Grief Training, please review the program. Jennifer Melvin, your instructor, will be glad to explain the courses and guide you through the process.
Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C