SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 12, 2012

After loss of a pet, when is it time to get another?

Ask Dog Lady Monica Collins
The Salem News

---- — Q: We recently lost Dandy, our beloved 10-year-old Yorkie, to complications from surgery trying to remove a cancerous intestinal tumor. We are coping and reading lots of articles online about pet grief, and the question always comes up of when/if we should get another pet and should we get the same breed. There is a lot of advice out there but none I trust more than yours. Any tips?

A: People wiser than Dog Lady have said the hardest part of keeping a pet is letting go of a pet. The actuarial tables for animals and humans are very unforgiving in this regard.

Another sad part of losing a pet is the immediate reaction from those around you: “Are you going to get another?” is the most frequently asked question. This assumes dogs are instantly replaceable — similar to automobiles or other significant inanimate objects. Certainly, you can always get another dog, but that creature will never be the one you lost. Each dog is unique, with its own personality and characteristics, which is somehow comforting and saddening at the same time. You may get another Yorkshire terrier (Yorkie), but it won’t be Dandy.

Only you can decide how long to wait before letting another dog into your life. The same is true about the breed. You’re used to Yorkies, so another one might be the dog for you, but Dog Lady can’t officially advise this course of action. It’s all very personal. You will know when it is time and what to do.

The Web community can be the greatest support when a beloved companion animal dies. Dog Lady directs you to www.petloss.com, a worldwide comprehensive site that provides a digital group hug for those dealing with pet grief.

Q: Lambie, our 21/2-year old cockapoo (cocker spaniel/poodle mix) seems to have regressed. She used to whine/whimper when she wanted to go out first thing in the morning. She no longer does that. Now she just goes to our sunroom and eliminates instead of letting us know.

A: Why do you allow Lambie, the cockapoo, to set the agenda? You should be up and out with your dog first thing in the morning before she whines or whimpers or sullies the sunroom. You’re the leader. Act like one. You’re too passive with your dog, and she’s taking advantage of your lassitude. She’s not a bathroom brainiac smart enough to let you know immediately what she has to do and when she has to go. Only by continually training and engaging your dog can you expect her to figure out what’s proper bathroom behavior. Please understand that Lambie doesn’t want to go inside because it’s her home, too. Work with her and train her so she becomes accustomed to your face and her walk in the morning.

---

Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Her website is askdoglady.com or facebook.com/askdoglady. Contact her at askdoglady@gmail.com.