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When your pet dies, it is very traumatic. Many people find comfort in creating memorial gardens in their yards with pet grave markers or in finding the perfect pet urn to honour their lost friend. They may write pet memorials, and go through the stages of grieving for the pet. This process may take weeks, or even months, depending on the bond between the pet parent and the pet, and the depth of the grief. However, sooner or later, most pet owners find themselves faced with the inevitable question: am I ready for another pet?

Everyone knows, of course, that one pet can't replace the loss of another. However, most pet owner's miss the companionship, the exercise, and the love that having a pet brings to their lives. Without this presence, after a time they begin to feel that something is missing and start to consider the purchase of a new pet companion to make their home's complete again.

It is important to ensure that you are emotionally ready before bringing home a new pet. First, you must understand that this pet is not a replacement. You must be ready to accept and love a new dog or cat, and not simply wish for your old cat or dog back. If you plan on adopting a young animal, remember that if your pet was older, this young pet will be a dramatic change. A young pet is not as well trained as an older pet and requires a great deal more care and attention- you must be emotionally prepared to provide that care, and not simply look at the new pet as a less-well-behaved nuisance that falls short of your expectations.

For dogs especially, it is important to be over the grieving process. Dogs need a strong pack leader, and can mistake grief for ambivalence or weakness. This can lead to long term behaviour problems that make it very difficult for you to ever develop a strong and loving relationship with your new dog. While a new dog can help you to get over the final stages of grief, if you are still unable to think about your old pet without crying, or feel that you are not emotionally strong enough to give your all to a new dog, it is best to wait until you are feeling stronger.

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Once you have made the decision, you need to find a pet that is compatible with your lifestyle. A dog breeder or a rescuer will understand the temperament of the dogs and cats that they are adopting out, and can help match you with a dog or cat that matches your household needs and energy level. You must remember that this will be an adjustment period for both you and the cat or dog you bring home, and you should not expect to fall into a relationship that is immediately as comfortable and loving as the one you shared with your previous pet. This relationship will be different, and bring different joy to your life, so you must be ready and open to embracing the unique quirks and characteristics that your new pet brings with it.


About the Author:

Colleen Mihelich: Owner, Peternity ... honouring your pet for eternity


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