Available dog and emotional turmoil

quasifishAugust 18, 2010

I just need a friendly "ear" today, and know you folks would understand.

Our old dog passed away 3.5 years ago and recently I've begun to think seriously about getting another dog, but haven't been pressing the issue.

DH has a friend who is looking for a new dog for his family and introduced DH to petfinder. (There's a reason I don't look at petfinder, and a reason DH didn't hear about it from me) Yesterday DH came across a beautiful young dog who just became available at a county shelter 100 miles away. I'm not sure I'm 100% ready for another dog, but I can't stop thinking about her- to the point of feeling physically ill.

DH and I have agreed that if she hasn't been adopted by tomorrow when he comes home from travel, we will email the shelter and seek to adopt her. DH felt she is so cute and has such a great disposition that she will find a home very quickly. Part of me is hoping that is true, but the other part of me is hoping that she is destined for us. I feel so confused right now that I just keep getting weepy when I think about it. I realize that the outcome for her will be a happy a one (whether with us or with someone else), and that's all that really matters, so I'm not sure what all these emotions are about. This all came up so quickly that I'm a little overwhelmed by the possibility of a dog in the house so soon.

I think of myself as a patient person, but in cases like this, I'm definitely not. I'm trying my best to put this in the hands of fate and accept what happens as what was destined to be- but oh, I'm not good at it. I hope I really am okay with the outcome- whatever it may be.

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I say go with your heart. I found my dogs on Petfinder and had a connection with them before I actually met them. But I would not dally because nice animals don't last. I know this because I lost a cute doxie mix because I was not first to put in an application. In fact there were five . You don't want to think...what if? if you're too late.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 4:10PM
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Lily316, your post makes me feel more at ease.

I didn't word it well in my post, I don't think, but the reason we are waiting until Thursday is because this came up so suddenly and we are both feeling a little ambivalent about the situation. We agreed that it would be fine if someone else adopted her, but if it looks like there is not much interest in her, we would certainly take her.

I'm sort of hoping she will have been adopted out by tomorrow night, but am worried that a seed was planted and now all I'll think about is having a dog in the house again!

Fingers crossed! (for what outcome I do not know!)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 5:57PM
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If you just want an ear, that's fine......we all do occasionally. That means you aren't necessarily looking for suggestions. That's fine too. It's really a good thing that you consider taking in a pet a major issue, because it is. The outcomes of so many pets lives would be better if everyone considered animals so carefully.

Everyone also has their own time frame for grief and reasons why or why not they're ready to move on to the promise of a new relationship.

It's harder when you have a spouse or partner, because their feelings are also important and need to be considered.

The only things I have to offer are that the choices ultimately are yours to make and it's irrelevant what anyone else thinks.

Please consider this though. You will not be 'unfaithful' to the memory of a beloved pet lost through death if you welcome another into your home. The new animal is not a replacement, but a new chapter. Your old chapters will still be intact in your soul. The new dog will be unique in its own way, pluck new and different strings in your heart, and open new doors in your life.

I lost all five of my pets last year. All but one very geriatric and not unexpected. It, of course, had a major impact on our life and lifestyle. I was so numb I didn't know when or if I'd reach the point where I'd be looking for another animal. The silence here was overwhelming and although it meant that the various time consuming duties involved with aged and infirm animals was gone and the relief from those duties was past due.........something was missing. I didn't decide to go get another animal, but neither did I decide not to.

I did, however, go to our local shelter and pound just to be around cats and dogs. I discovered I missed their presence VERY much. I'd hoped if I saw the right one that I'd know it. After several visits with our little Tubby, I took the plunge. It was a win/win situation for all of us.

Best wishes for whatever lies ahead.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 5:57PM
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Calliope, thanks for the words of wisdom. You were apparently posting at the same time that I was.

I'm so sorry about all the loss you had last year. I cannot imagine how difficult that must be.

For the longest time I would think, "I miss Abby." And then earlier this year it became, "I miss having a dog in the house." I didn't talk to DH about it because I didn't know where he was on the issue, and figured he would encourage me towards getting a dog and I wasn't sure. I wasn't thinking about a dog this week when the possibility of this one at a county shelter came up. I can't leave this little doll there if it seems no one else is interested.

I have a bit on my plate right now, so adding a dog wasn't a priority at the moment, but there's time and room for one more at the table if need be. I think I will be okay with the outcome whichever way- just as long as the end result is that she gets out of the shelter.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 6:10PM
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Getting a dog is supposed to be a well thought out step.

Your hesitation may have several reasons. Feelings for the last dog. The fear a new dog will impact those feelings. Fear the new dog will dim the memory or you may like the new dog more.

Those are normal feelings. The bond between human and dog is different and stronger than any other human/animal bond. Science is beginning to discover the bond is much more deep than previously thought.

It seems to me you have progressed in the grieving process to be able to consider the next step. Getting another dog.

Everyone deals with their feelings as they have learned to do. The new dog will be the new dog. Then the present dog. Then the old dog. The same as the previous dog.

But, the dogs are all different. The memories are different. The love is different.

That is the way it should be.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 9:16PM
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Has it really been 3.5 years since your pet died? I thought it might have been a typo but the grieving process is different for all people. We lost our GS Misty in July and it was terribly hard on my mother who had bonded with Misty (only dog we had that gravitated to her instead of my dad or brother) and shared everything with everyday especially since her retirement. The first few days she couldn't even think of getting another dog but the emptiness of the house and loneliness (most of mom's day-to-day activities involved Misty) and she started thinking about it. She also felt she was somehow betraying Misty, especially since Misty didn't like other dogs getting close to mom and would push to be beside mom (she felt Misty would not like it even though she was gone) but my brother brought over his dog for us to puppy-sit and we both knew she was ready. While she still was, and is, grieving for Misty her joy and affection with Jackson had not diminished. It was exactly one week from the day we had to put Misty down that we got Peanut. I specifically showed her breeds that were nothing like Misty and took into consideration the complaints she had with Misty (being too big to be picked up and shedding terribly) so our dear Chihuahua-Terrier is a perfect choice and there is no thought that she is trying to replace Misty. Mom is still mourning but can fully enjoy her new relationships with the puppies in our home.

Go with your heart. If you can enjoy the company of other dogs then it could be guilt that holds you back. Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to be happy (on so many levels) and to know that those who love us would want us to be happy. If you are ready to make new memories never fear that you have to abandon the old ones. The wonderful thing about love is that you could give all your love, from the deepest part of your heart, and still have love left to give :)

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 9:38PM
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You said: "I have a bit on my plate right now, so adding a dog wasn't a priority at the moment". What I'm hearing is not your concern about the loss, and replacement, of your previous dog but the time & effort required of you due to the addition of a new dog in your household.

I came close to adding another dog to our home the last few months but hesitation on my part, and misc. circumstances, have prevented any adoption. I'd have days I was ready for another dog, then there would be days that I'd wake and try to imagine the impact a second dog would have on my daily routine and our household in general.

I think you should discuss your reluctance with your husband and whether he'll be willing to step in to help with training, feeding, and possible medical care of the newcomer.
You can always call the shelter and keep track of the dog he's interested in. Often, rescue groups come in and take adoptable dogs that don't move out of the shelter quickly and I've found shelters will share this info if you have an interest in the dog.

BTW, one of those circumstances that prevented me from adopting a dog was a stray Manx kitten that entered our lives. Turns out she is a perfect fit for my dog!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 9:44PM
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There was an even longer time for me between dogs. Our greyhound died August 2001, and I rescued a Boston Terrier mix two years ago last month , July 2008. Dogs are a huge commitment, even more than cats since my indoor cats like their lives of leisure and can be left alone for all day or even all night. Not so with dogs. With the first rescue we looked at IG rescue, but when we went to see him, I thought he was too delicate and wouldn't be up to a two mile fast paced walk every day. Besides I think the foster mom kept him. The next dog I saw was local on Petfinder, went to see him and after I was approved she brought him here. He's very smart and well behaved and has been a delight. For some reason my husband started looking at local adoption groups this spring because Ziggy needed a pal, he said. Saw one dog who was sweet but way too energetic...an Aussie. But then this same lady, a Border collie rescuer came upon this Dachshund in a WVA kill shelter. I knew nothing about the breed since I thought I was going to get another mutt. We took Ziggy along to meet him and the woman, after an hour said.."well he likes you and Ziggy. Do you like him?"Of course we said yes, and she said she would follow me to my house to do an inspection. I had never expected to return with a dog that Sat. in May. She pointed out places in our picket fence which needed extra protection and then left. I did have a month to return him if it didn't work out but I would have hated to do that to a dog who already had lived in different homes..at least two after the shelter. Thankfully Wally turned out to be a very well behaved dog who is totally laid back and adores his walks. Gets along fine with Ziggy, loves us, but is distant to other humans and does not like other dogs. Loves children though. He was turned into the WVA shelter because they said they had too many dogs. He was probably a stud at a puppy mill since he is show quality someone told me. So it worked out for us and Wally>>>and I hope it works out for you whatever the outcome. What kind of dog is he? >>Calliope..How sad for you to lose all those pets in one year. Having pets is the best and worse times one can experience.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 1:35AM
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Thank you all for sharing your stories. I can always count on people here to relate when it matters.

Annz, you hit the nail on the head in that first paragraph. I did feel a lot of grief for a long time (and eventually came to understand that it ran much deeper than just the dog), but that has mostly subsided. There are a lot of reasons for hesitation that come with our current lifestyle.

When I talked to DH last night, I told him I had always imagined our next dog would not be a young pup, but one that was young, but full grown and in need of time, attention, and training. This would be much more appropriate in another 2-3 years. Though I'm not sure how realistic it is to hope to find a secondhand, young adult lab/lab mix/similar breed who is kid and cat friendly, so I won't rule out younger dogs entirely. Anyone have thoughts on that subject?

We also still have our old, deaf, CRF cat and I'm concerned that a new animal in the house might stress her too much- plus she needs enough medical attention that I'm hesitant to add another animal. She has thrived with the addition of the kitten, now cat, that we took in last fall-- and she is the type who likes all animals and people until they give her a reason not to. I'm not sure how the new guy would be with a dog, but he's spunky and can hold his own. But still, upsetting the current dynamic is not something I'm sure I'm ready for. It was generally accepted that we would at least wait until Muddy the CRF cat passed on.

This morning I woke up thinking about our old Abby dog and how she and the 2 cats were a cohesive unit (Muddy and Gus, who passed away from cancer in Jan 09). Though she was big and they were cats, they slept together, groomed each other, ran through the house like a pack at times- it was a very special grouping that I don't think will ever happen again. A dog we add to the house would have to be friendly, but it won't ever be a buddy-system like those three were- I sure miss that.

Still, I deeply miss the unconditional nature of dogs, especially the last few months when it often feels like I'm incapable of doing anything right. Those times when you throw the ball and cuddle, and nothing more is expected in those moments.

Anyhow, DH had talked to several people who all indicated that a dog like that one who is available will not have any trouble being adopted or picked up by a rescue, so I think we are going to let this one go and move forward with the thought in mind that we will be ready for a dog again at some time in the not-too-distant future. I think we will know in our hearts when the time is right for the household and start actively looking at that point, and in the meantime DH is banned from going on Petfinder. I am open to the universe sending a dog our way in the meantime though- if the right dog happens to fall into our laps I won't turn her away. If I open the front door later today and there's a golden retriever who says, "Roll that beautiful bean footage," I'll let him in and offer him a snack :^)

Thanks for listening and supporting. It helped a lot and made me feel much better about hitting this turning point.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 10:42AM
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I'm glad you came to a decision. You'll know when it's right. I also forbade my husband to look on Petfinder or even look at the pets at Petsmart. I have a great group now who all get along(mostly). I was so lucky with both dogs as each is very tolerant of cats. Henry(cat) occasionally asserts his power but mostly it is good.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 12:45AM
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