Make sure it is your choice.
Friends and family often mean well when they urge you to get a new pet because they don’t want to see you sad. However, grieving is a process that is unique to each person. There is no set time limit. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a decision.
Don’t look for a “replacement”.
As pet owners, we know that there is truly no way that one pet could replace another. Each have their own personalities and silly quirks. If you think of your new pet as a replacement and they don’t act like the other one, you may find yourself disappointed or frustrated. Pets will pick up on this as they read people’s energy and it could affect them which is not fair. Shelters report that many of their returns are based on the family not feeling that it “was a good fit” or it “just didn’t work out” as code for they chose based on preconceived notions of a pet’s personality.
Consult with everyone in your household.
Make sure that everyone in the home is ready for a new pet. As stated before, everyone grieves in their own way. If your child doesn’t seem excited about the prospect of a new pet maybe give it more time. Have a household meeting and let everyone have a say before committing.
Consider your other pets.
Just as with family members, pets grieve as well. They need time to go through the process. Sometimes pet owners worry about them being lonely. They see them whining and looking for the lost pet and it breaks their heart. However, rushing to get a new companion for your pet might not be the right choice. Pay attention to your pet and let them show you when they are ready.
Consider an Alternative.
Maybe you’re ready to get a new pet and maybe you’re not. What about finding alternatives until you know for sure? Lots of local shelters take volunteers to walk dogs, be “pet cuddlers”, or help socialize cats. You’ll get that great feeling of helping while getting your fix of furry faces! And inevitably if you are working in a shelter, a certain animal will grab your attention and win your heart and it all becomes a win-win.
It’s never easy moving forward after losing a pet but if you do it the right way and at the right time, adding another member into your home will be as rich and loving as the time before.