Pets become a member of your family. Pets become a part of your everyday routine. Pets occupy a large spot in your heart. So, when you go through the heartbreak of losing a pet, when is the best time to get another?
In early November, we lost our Daisy. She was our eleven-year-old Boston Terrier. She had a heart murmur ever since she was a young puppy, and over time it progressed, and she went into congestive heart failure. My husband and I were devastated. Daisy was with me through so many life milestones: college graduation, my first apartment with my now husband, my first full-time job, our engagement, our first home, our wedding, and the births of both of our boys. I could always count on her loyalty through good times and bad, my highs and my lows. She was always there until she wasn’t.
Everywhere I looked in our house, I expected to see her. At the door when we got home. Sitting patiently under the table for someone to “accidentally” drop food. Laying in any spot where she could find warm sunshine. But she wasn’t physically there anymore.
My heart was shattered.
We were immediately asked, “When are you going to get another dog?”
Grief is nothing new to us. My husband and I have both experienced life changing grief. Something I’ve learned over time is that grief is not linear. Grief is not measurable. Grief is not comparable.
We needed to grieve Daisy in our own way. Her memory will always be in our home. We have her paw print on our fridge, a beautiful sun catcher crystal that was dedicated to her and gifted to us, and each of the boys has blankets with her pictures on them. We needed those things around us. We needed to see her, even though it hurt. That helped us grieve.
My husband and I decided that we would get another dog when the time felt right. We didn’t know when that would be, but we trusted that we would know.
Three weeks later, on Black Friday, we met our Abigail. A precious 14 week Golden doodle.
It is very uncommon for me to make quick and spontaneous decisions. I will happily read through every review before I purchase even the smallest item. But, this felt different. I learned about Abigail, met her, and put her in my car to take her home over a span of three short hours.
Sitting out in front of this woman’s house, I felt a rush of anxiety. My rational side was telling me to slow down. I needed to call my husband and speak to him. I knew he would say exactly what I needed to hear. I look at my phone, and no service, which shouldn’t have surprised me because she does live in a rural area. I immediately began to pray. I asked for peace, whether a yes or no to taking Abigail home. I needed to feel at peace about the decision. Almost immediately after, my phone got service, and I knew. I had to do this. My husband and I spoke, and he gave me the green light. As I was leaving this woman’s home, with Abigail on my passenger side seat, the song “Heaven’s Not Too Far” by We Three came on. At that moment, I felt Daisy’s presence and knew she was with me. She was telling me it was okay. Everything was going to be okay.
Fast forward to today. Abigail is laying beside me as I write this for you. She has been a perfect addition to our family in every way possible. We absolutely adore her.
We still miss Daisy, and we always will. I think about her every day. I think it is important to remember when you decide that your family is ready for another dog, that you trust your heart. The only timeline you need to worry about is what is best for your family and your heart. Getting another dog will not erase the one you just lost. You are not erasing the grief. You are just adding a new joy.