Too soon? When to get another dog

Almost a week ago my world shattered when my beautiful Panda passed away suddenly from unknown spleen cancer in the span of 6 hours. I had posted a thread that day.

The first few days I couldn’t even think about another dog but now it’s constantly on my mind.
I got Panda just 11 days after my lab Bella died back in 2013. But it was different, it wasn’t a sudden death and Panda was most definitely my heart dog.

I know for a fact no dog will ever replace Panda. Ever. But is it to soon? I don’t want to end up hating a new dog. I was thinking about going to the animal shelter tomorrow just to look. Potentially not even adopt yet.
Sort of lost on what to do. The house feels so empty and I have love to give. I want a companion.

Why not foster for a rescue group for awhile? No pressure on picking a dog immediately, you’ll be doing a wonderful deed and if you happen to fall in love then it’s meant to be.

I lost my heart dog in January and I’m still completely heartbroken. I tried looking at puppies to adopt but I’m still too sad to open my heart to a new dog. I honestly don’t know that I ever will have another dog again.

But I am currently fostering a chihuahua mom and her three puppies and it’s been a fun distraction. They came to me at 3 days old and are now 3 weeks. It’s been nice to have them here, and mama dog is a very good girl who gets me out of the house again on walks.


Your heart will let you know. I couldn’t think about another dog for many months after losing my last. She was also a last tie to my mom, so particularly difficult.

When I got her (and her brother) they were very different from the previous dog (they were Cavaliers, previous dog was an Aussie). There were practical reasons for this, but it also helped keep me from comparing too much.

Ten months later, I am just starting to look into another dog. Just today I touched base with a Cavalier breeder who has a couple of adults to place. Maybe…


I have been there. I feel for you. You’re going to know when you should do this, and the proper four-legged child will be there for you. I just believe that because it’s how it’s worked for me for many many years. Hugs to you! I know how hard it is.

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If you are lonesome already, missing the companioship, it is not too early to start looking for a new friend. I don’t think you will hate any new dog, just because it is alive. So make up your “shopping list” of desirable traits you want in a dog and start looking! On my list were pointy ears, longer hair, 20 to 30 pounds, female. Long nose, no smushed muzzles because of snorting and breathing issues in our cold winter air. I came close! Ended up with small floppy ears and a male, but had the other stuff i wanted. Sellers said they never had ear problems, even being floppy. He was my desired color, black with white trim, while his sister was white with some black spots. Darker dog does not show the dirt like a white dog, so the male came home with me.

My self? I try to find my new puppy before I lose the older one. For me, it doesn’t seem to hurt so bad or so long with the distraction of other dog to care for.

I certainly would not consider any short time before getting a new puppy or dog as that you did not “really care.” That is someone else being “judgy pants”. They are not you, none of their business in time of getting a new canine. Best of luck looking, enjoy the search!


I don’t think it’s a matter of time but rather a matter of finding peace. When you can think of Panda with a smile rather than with tears and when you can embrace a new canine companion without feeling disloyal, you are ready. And you can still cherish Panda as your heart dog without taking any love away from the next one. Best wishes as you work through this hard time.


There is no right way to grieve or time frame for moving forward. Just be kind to yourself and listen to what your heart is telling you.


I always feel like I never want another dog for a really short period of time, and then I feel the pull to get another dog. It isn’t a replacement of your previous dog, but it gives you a new dog to walk and take care of and build a relationship with. I would get another dog if you are feeling the pull. You’ll always love Panda. I think about dogs I’ve had that passed years ago, and I do miss them still / but I enjoy walking dogs and being with dogs.

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Agreed. I don’t understand why people would tell anyone to wait if they want another dog. It is possible to love more than one thing at the same time.

The only caution I would offer is to write things down that you loved/didn’t love from previous dogs (not just your recently lost pup) and/or things you would love/not love about a new dog. For example - especially as we get older, is size. If you remember ever struggling with a dog because it was too big to bathe easily, or transport, etc., maybe time to consider a smaller dog.

And then - try not to waver on that. All puppies are cute and easy - even the big ones. But, fast forward 10 months, and you may love the dog but wish it was smaller.

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@Countrygirl18, so sorry for your loss. Nothing hurts quite like losing a beloved dog.

James Herriot wrote that the best salve for losing a dog is to get a new one right away. Personally, I agree with that. The suggestion above to foster is a really good one in case you are unsure (and of course, no shame if your “foster” becomes “a foster fail”).


This. My mom’s way of healing & moving on is to find the next one and transfer grief into new love. She has always found the next one relatively soon after losing one. I can’t do that. I need more time to process and refocus. But, to each his/her own and if your heart says it wants to start looking, there’s nothing “wrong” with that. Maybe that’s just its way of healing. Heart occupational therapy :slight_smile: (((Hugs))) in the meantime.


When I lost my Greta very suddenly in early February I immediately put all her beds and dishes away and threw a lot of toys, etc in the trash. I didn’t think I would ever want another dog because it wouldn’t be Greta again. But after a while it dawned on me that Greta would not want me to close my heart and home to another dog just because she left this world too soon.

As others have said, your next dog will not be Panda, but start looking and when you find the right dog you will know.


For all you Harry Potter fans - my favorite quote about grief and love:

Grief, it seemed, drove Voldemort out… though Dumbledore, of course, would have said that it was love….

Grief is love; if you didn’t love something, you wouldn’t grieve for it.

But - it is possible for love to grow infinitely. There is no limit on the number of people or dogs (or anything) that you can love.


When I lost my last horse, my trainer told me the reason God gave dogs and horses shorter lives than ours is so we can love more of them in our lifetime. :heart:


I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my first dog suddenly (she was hit by a car), and will never lose that grief. The only way I made it through was the puppy I got 3 weeks later. Do what your heart tells you - you’ll know when you’re ready, and there’s no limit on dogs of a lifetime.


Fostering or rescuing another dog is a way to honor your dog and help another one. It’s a win-win, but everyone is different. I lost the dog of a lifetime in 2010 and wanted to just be buried with him. There will NEVER be another Norman! But I threw myself in to researching his pedigree with a spreadsheet of his bloodlines back 10 generations and looked for matches. Then I scoured message boards, breeder’s websites, FB, ads and looked around here – nothing! So I finally found a puppy in upper NC near VA that had a very similar pedigree and a picture of her face/expression was HIM! So, I put down a deposit and flew up there when she was 8 weeks and brought her back the same day in a carrier under my seat. She is awesome, not Normie, but has a place of her own as do her babies, (I kept 3!) and she is now 11. Good luck and hugs. We all have to do it our way.


I agree that you should get another dog if you feel that it’s time. There isn’t a right answer. I really don’t like being home alone without a dog and probably won’t wait very long when my old girl is gone. It doesn’t mean that we love our lost ones any less.


I firmly believe that when the time is right, our pets that have gone on will send the next one…one that we need, one that needs us. If you feel that pull to go look, go look. Maybe that next one is already waiting, maybe not. When I lost my last dog, it was terrible. I did go look, even did a couple of trial visits with shelter dogs, but it wasn’t the right time yet. Then, a year later, one of the dogs that I had looked at was returned to the shelter…and I felt like that was the sign. She’ll never replace my Howie, but that’s not her job.


Got this guy today! His name is Seargent. I’m fostering him for 7 days and if it’s a good fit I will adopt. He’s a 2 year old Australian cattle dog


Also put together a memorial for my sweet Panda yesterday