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How long should one wait to get another pet after their old pet dies?

Updated on February 19, 2011

Just like our pets - we are all different in how we grieve.

Putting a loved one to sleep is one of life's most difficult and heart-wrenching experiences. I should know. I just put my beloved 21 year old cat Rossi to sleep last week. He was my first pet ever -- since growing up my father was deathly allergic to anything with fur.

Our pets are our part of our families. . .we would do anything for them. They love us unconditionally -- and we love them back in the same manner. To lose a pet is to lose a family member. We are grieving a family member.

How long should you wait until you get another pet? This hub was a requested hub -- so I would like to do my best to answer your question. First let me say I am so sorry for your loss.

I believe the answer is -- it all depends on you. You deserve the right to take as long or as short as it feels right to you. Just like our pets who all were different with wonderfully different personalities -- we humans are all wonderfully different as well. Do not let anyone impose any rules on you. It is entirely your decision. Animal lovers will understand and respect your feelings. Remember, most of your animal lovers friends have been through this themselves and they understand.

I was so touched by the outpouring of support from my friends when they learned I had lost Rossi. Actually, I learned a very valuable lesson -- from now on I will always reach out immediately with support and love for my friends when I learn they have lost a pet. I know what a difference it made to me. I will always write a sympathy note because I cherished every one I received.

Here are some Self-Care measures for the bereaved that are helping me get through my loss:

  • Attend a support group.
  • Don't be afraid of your feelings; be open to sharing them.
  • Exercise, eat right and get plenty of rest.
  • Involve yourself in activities that are comforting or enjoyable.
  • Avoid alcohol and other drugs that can intensify feelings of depression.
  • Manage one day at a time.

Here are some valuable Support Groups and Pet loss support hotline numbers:

Staffed by University of Florida veterinary students Weekdays, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., EST (352) 392-2213 then 1 and 4080

Staffed by Michigan State University veterinary students Tuesday - Thursday, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., EST (517) 432-2696

Staffed by Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine Tuesday and Thursday, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., EST (540) 231-8038

The Ohio State University Companion Animal Listening Line (614) 292-1823 M-F 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm EST Sat-Sun 10 am ­ 4 pm EST (Most hotline volunteers are veterinary students, therefore hours are dependant on volunteer availability and may be more limited during summer months.)

Staffed by Tufts University veterinary students Tuesday and Thursday, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., EST (508) 839-7966

Staffed by Iowa State University veterinary students Weekdays, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., CST (888) 478-7574

Staffed by Cornell University veterinary students Tuesday to Thursday, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., EST (607) 253-3932

Iams Pet Loss Support Resource Center (888) 332-7738

The American Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 24 hours Stephanie LaFarge, Ph.D. (800) 946-4646 pin #140-7211 and leave your number Fax (212) 860-3435

Be kind to yourself. Take as much time as you need. You will know when the time is right -- and most likely another fabulous pet will adopt YOU when the time is right.

Debbie Holte is a frequent contributor of articles on our dog's health and happiness for Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Beds --whose company's mission is to improve the quality of life for our beloved animals.

Remember there are three things to look for in any company you purchase a dog bed - high quality products, products that will last and stand the test of time, and superior customer service.


I would love to hear how others have coped. Please share your experiences!

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    • Fabiana03 profile image

      Fabiana03 5 years ago from California

      Awesome Hub! Thank you! I lost my kitty less than a year ago and suffered and still suffer very much. I can't even look at photos of him. I'm going to start a pet loss support group next week.

    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 9 years ago

      thanks for answering my request.I guess each caes is different ;)

    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 9 years ago

      thanks for answering my request. This is good. ;)

    • Nicole Winter profile image

      Nicole A. Winter 9 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Excellent hub, WeLoveOurDogs, thanks so much for the support group information!

    • sukkran profile image

      Mohideen Basha 9 years ago from TRICHY, TAMIL NADU, INDIA.

      those lovely pets...