getting a new dog after losing one

newhomeseekerNovember 6, 2009

My parents lost two of their 4 dogs this past year. One passed away in April, the other in August. We had raised both from puppies. They were adopted together from a rescue but were not related. Since my siblings and I moved out the dogs were my parents "kids". They recently took on two other rescues in the last 2 years as well. But they are not nearly as attached to the two newer dogs as the two that passed away. About a month ago I was looking at my county's animal shelter web site and came across 4 puppies for adoption that looked like my parents' dog that had passed away in April. He was part Australian Cattle dog, part Blue heeler. The puppies appeared to be the same mixed breed and while they weren't the same color as he was, they had the same look to them. Because these puppies only had 3 days left (the dog pound in my area gives the dogs a week and that is it unless they are sponsored) I told my parents about them. We were planning to adopt them all just to save them but luckily they got adopted before their time ran out. Since then my dad has decided he wants another dog (they live on a small farm and have a lot of land and a huge fenced yard and lots of love for another dog), but the catch is he wants one that looks like the male dog that passed away in April. A neighbor's dog had puppies and my mom was going to take one of them but my dad said they would get too big (part lab) and he didn't want one. I think the real reason is they didn't remind him of Pete (dog that passed away).

Yesterday I was browsing Pet finder (I was bored and wanted to torture myself I guess (the ads make me teary eyed sometimes because there are so many animals that need homes!) and I saw a puppy (3 months old) that looks almost EXACTLY like the dog my parents lost. He is the same mixed breed, same coloring, just a different face. I emailed the pic to my dad and he immediately called the shelter, put a deposit down and tomorrow my parents are driving two hours (each way) to go pick the dog up. I applaud their decision to adopt another rescue dog and they are doing it in Pete's memory. But I am concerned that my dad wants to replace his beloved dog with a look alike and he might be disapointed. They have another part blue heeler (that does not resemble the other dog) that they adopted a year ago when Pete was still alive. She acts nothing like him and I know she wasn't adopted because they thought she would be similar to him. SHe just needed a home they took her in.

However the creepy thing is they are now browsing web sites looking for a dog that looks similiar to the other dog they lost in August. She was black and white and had a face like a shephard but a tail like a husky and she wasn't very big. my dad sent me a pic he found of a dog six hours away and told me it looks like (the other dog they lost) She does look similiar and totally diff face and not as much black. It looks like a generic version of her. I don't think they are going to drive six hours to pick up another dog but it worries me that my dad seems to want exact replicas of the dogs he lost. If you pet passed away do you seek out a new dog/cat that looks similar to the one you lost? I can see if you had a purebred they might look very similiar but these are mix breed dogs. We used to have some older neighbors that had a collie they called Queenie and when she would die, they get another collie and name her Queenie. They went through about 3 Queenies while we lived next door to them. They would never talk about the other dog dying they would act like this was the same dog. (they would adopt an adult collie each time). I'm afraid my parents are venturing into that territory. Or is it normal to want to adopt/buy another pet that reminds you of your old one?

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i'm sorry for their losses, sounds like it's been very hard on them. i don't really see a big problem with what they are doing unless you think it is emotionally unhealthy for them. it sounds as if they have a lot of love to give and a perfect place for unwanted dogs. kudos to them for rescuing!

as for me...when i lost my sweet welsh corgi girl to cancer last summer, i adopted a great dane from rescue. so, i guess that's about as opposite as you can get! :)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 11:03AM
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Its certainly a bit odd, but probably not harmful to them or the dog, or is it?

They might be disappointed that look-alike-dog may have totally different personality than their beloved lost pet... if that happens, are they the type of people who would get over their disappointment and accept the dog as it is.

Its probably not a whole lot different that people who always get the same type of purebred dog... just in this case they have a preference for a certain type of mixed breed...

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 11:12AM
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I know they miss both dogs a lot as they won't even talk about them really. The dog will have a great home. Their dogs are like their kids and they are spoiled and loved a great deal. They are also well taken care of. Any dog that has them as pet parents is a lucky one.I assume they would just accept the dog even if it's personality was drastically different than their deceased dog. They aren't the type of people to dispose of animals that don't work out. They take care of them for life. Growing up I don't ever remember giving a cat away and I know we never gave a dog away. We always took in someone else's unwanted pet. Once a coworker of my dad's had a married daughter whose husband got her a cocker spaniel puppy from a mall petshop because it was so cute (puppy mill puppy) and once it got bigger she didn't want it anymore and they were going to take it to the dog pound. My dad volunteered to take it (we had one dog at the time as the other dog we adopted at 7 years old had just passed away) and my dad thought our lone dog would like company. This cocker spaniel was hated by our current dog! also he peed on the floor anytime he got excited or you just touched him for the first time (after you came home or he saw you) He never grew out of this. He also had very short term memory (he would challenge the other dogs (there ended up being 4 which included the two that just passed away) and the other dogs were more dominant and would have him on the floor on his back and he would still be growling and trying to establish dominance. He was a pain in the butt but my parents loved him and he had a very good life until he died at only age 5 from a seizure disorder.

I just think it is strange they would want a look-alike because I would think there would be too many difficult memories and they would miss the original dog even more. I had a cat growing up that was light orange/tan and white. She was such a sweetheart. She lived to be about 15 years old. even though I've adopted several cats since then none of them are orange/tan white. I have black and white, gray and orange, dark brown and orange, solid black, gray and white, and tiger strip and a calico (I'm fostering some of these). This wasn't a conscious decision. I didn't deliberately avoid cats that reminded me of my childhood cat. I just had cats that find me or situations where I"ve taken unwanted cats and none have had the same coloring. I never really thought about it until now so it seems odd to me to seek out an animal that looks exactly like one you used to own. But your example about purebreds make sense so I guess it is not so strange.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 1:19PM
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When my old girl died I did look for dogs that looked like her. I wanted the dog to almost be a replica of my old girl, I just missed her so much. It didn't work out that way as when we went to a breeder my husband fell in love with a dog that was the same breed as my old girl....but totally different shape and coloring. We took the dog home and I can tell you that even though she is nothing like my old girl.....I love her just as much.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 1:33PM
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honestly to me it does seem a little odd that they have sought out two dogs that looked just like the two they lost as if they are trying to replace them with replicas. They obviously had a very strong bond with those two dogs but they will never replace them and it almost sounds like they're trying to go back in time and have the dogs back with them.

I actually think most dog owners goes through that feeling and after losing dogs Ive wished I could have my dogs back, (Ive felt exactly the same when grieving the loss of (human) family members). Your dogs can be an important part of your life but eventually you have to let go and accept that they are gone and it sounds like they havent done that but it's like losing any other family member, you have to accept the loss as part of the grieving process and you cant turn back the clock or bring them back.

Is it unhealthy? I'm really not sure, if I found myself doing it then I think deep down I would know I hadnt finished grieving or was just trying to avoid grieving over the loss and I dont think that is necessarily healthy but Im not a psychologist so ????

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 3:54PM
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When i was young, I had Bouncer Ball and then Bouncer Ball the Second.

The dogs were similar, but not copies.

Dogs are good for people's psyche. Some people use a dog as a surrogate child or mate. If that helps a person's quality of life----even if the substitution seems unhealthy----who are we to deny the basic good.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 7:49PM
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Just wanted to post an update. My parents went to the animal shelter to look at the puppy that reminded them of the dog they used to have and it turned out that the puppy's brother was also there as well. They ended up adopting both of them as they didn't want to separate the litter mates since they were so attached. So a very happy ending.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 9:09AM
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I work with a rescue and we discourage people picking out a dog that looks like one they lost because we want them to understand it's not the same dog, and will not act the same way.... that said, in my experience people tend to gravitate towards the same type/look of dog they had in childhood or their first dog---- I don't think it's a problem as long as enough time passed, but searching for a dog that you want as a replacement is not a good idea, because most often the dogs will have very different personalities. I'm glad they rescued two dogs and will give them a great home -- it's very quiet in the house when you are used to having a dog and they are no longer around.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 9:17AM
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Thanks for the update - and how wonderful they rescued two! If they are cattle dogs, your parents will really have a handful as the puppies are growing up :)

Hope the puppies bring them lots of joy.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 9:29PM
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I think the dogs will wind up very happy. Btw.. you mentioned they were australian cattle dog/blue heeler mix. Blue heelers ARE australian cattle dogs -- same breed. I'm going to bet that you meant Australian Shepherd - since they look very different from heelers. However, both breeds top my list of intelligent dogs. Smartest 2 dog breeds ever in my humble opinion. (BTW.. "aussie" refers to australian shepherd... not the australian cattle dog/heeler)

Whatever reason they chose them, the dogs' personalities will come out. I'm willing to bet your parents will find this out soon enough, but they got some great dogs -- and BRAVO to them for adopting :)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 2:06AM
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I lost my Chinabear last November, a 16 yr old black female Chow Chow, buried her in the backyard with a statue of St Francis overlooking her. E-mailed all the chow breeders in the southeast asking for another black female and 2 months later I was notified of a black female Chow Chow. She was a show puppy and I paid plenty but another beauty. Maggie Mae is glad I found her too. Sometimes we call her Chinabear by mistake but it's like I never lost my dog.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 12:39PM
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