How long after the death of a beloved dog to adopt a puppy?


Purse Slut
Dec 14, 2006
Western NY
I know every one of you who has had dogs has been through this... but we had to say goodbye today to Jake, our beautiful 8-year old Sheltie.

Jake had started acting sick about 2 weeks ago. His head was down, he was walking in circles, he was tripping on the stairs, he seemed disoriented and he seemed very sad. Our regular vet put him on prednisone, and advised me to take him to a specialist at a local animal hospital. Three days later, when the specialist saw him, he was in great shape, but the doc said it was probably due to the pred. He said the only way to know was to remove the pred and just observe him.

We did that and watched as he declined physically and mentally over the next week and a half. He seemed to have lost all of his learned behaviors and was acting solely on instinct. DH and I took him to the ER at the animal hospital late Saturday night, but the vet on duty then thought his symptoms were more related to the pain of his arthritis than to anything neurological. She sent us home to resume the pred, but by yesterday afternoon, he began having seizures. DH held him wrapped in a blanket on his lap while I drove like a maniac back to the animal hospital. They had to administer several doses of Valium to try to stop the tremors. They admitted him and put in a steady line of fluids and valium last evening. The specialist who had seen him just two weeks ago examined him this morning. Unfortnately, all of the evidence pointed to an untreatable brain tumor. Even if they had an MRI to "see" what was going on in his brain, there was no possibility of him recovering. DH and our 20-yo DD and I were with him this afternoon when he died. We gave our 16-yo DS and 14-yo DD the option of coming with us, but I think it was too much for them.

All of which brings me to my question... how long should we wait before adopting another dog (or dogs -- we've thought about finding sheltie littermates and taking two)? We have many friends who have lost dogs and couldn't stand having dog-less houses, so they found new puppies as soon as they could. Others have said to wait -- that everyone they know who adopted new dogs shortly after the loss of their long-time companions regretted it. Advice? TIA.

Our sweetie Jake, may he rest in peace.



I think it just depends on you. Obviously, puppies take a lot of time and energy and it can be hard to put forth that sort of mental and physical effort if you're in mourning. If you're thinking about getting a new dog, I would start making inquiries with breeders or shelters and maybe just look around for awhile, see what your options are. I'm sure along the way you will fall in love with a new dog, you just need to find him or her (or both if you get two!). Even scanning will probably tell you whether you're ready for a new puppy (are you excited or do you feel sad and miss your old dog). Take care, I'm very sorry for your loss.


Jun 1, 2007
Beautiful dog, I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine when the day comes for my 2 guys. I think it's a very personal decision when to get another dog. If it feels right then do it.


Jan 17, 2007
I'm sorry to hear that you lost your wee doggie.:sad:

I really don't think there is a right or wrong time to get another dog. It's a personal decision and I believe you will know when you are ready. Oh, and many times, we don't find another dog...they find us, when you least expect it and you just know in your heart it is meant to be.


May 10, 2007
Somewhere in the desert
so sorry for your lost my heart goes out to you and your family... as everyone has stated, the right time is when your family is ready. you should talk to your kids about it... when my dogs died in high school, i wasn't ready for a new dog right away. my little brother was much better at coping and would have glady accepted a new dog right away.

Prada Psycho

Jul 21, 2006
I'm so sorry. Jake was a beautiful boy. :cry:

We lost our Sam on January 5 this year. The house was so empty I couldn't breathe, but DH just didn't think he could even consider looking for another dog. Sam was so special I can't even begin to tell you. I knew Sam would want us to have another fur baby, so I kept my heart open to that. It wasn't so easy for DH.

As it was, only three weeks after Sam died, he brought me to Gracie. She was at Animal Control, picked up as a stray. I'd been looking at other dogs/puppies on Petfinders and such, but I was so pulled to Gracie that I knew Sam had picked her out. I felt the same sense of urgency I felt the day that we were pulled along a path that brought Sam to us.

I drove out to AC as fast as I could after sending DH Gracie's AC "mug shot". I really didn't think he'd go along with the idea of another dog so soon, especially since he wouldn't even see her (he was at work 30 miles away!) but when he saw her mug shot, he knew. When I saw Gracie, I just knew Sam sent her to us.

Long story, and this is the abbreviated version, but all this is to say that you should leave your hearts open and listen to Jake's messages. I promise when you are so close to a dog, they will lead you to your next baby. I didn't think I'd be ready for another dog barely three weeks after losing Sam either, but Sam knew we needed to fill the house with love again. Once again, Sam was right. :love:

Here's our Gracie:




Jul 1, 2006
Beth I was just reading your other post about Jake... he is so precious, I showed him to my DH. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. He was such a lucky guy to have a family that loved him so much that they unselfishly released him from his pain. I can't imagine what it felt like to see him that way, prayers for you.

About a new dog, I agree with Prada Psycho above. I know she is fresh from a similar experience and her advice is wonderful. It is definitely up to you and your family's hearts as to when you're ready. Certainly adding a new dog will be bittersweet; but it may be quite healing as well. It definitely won't replace Jake, nor do I think you'd want it to... instead, it's like he opened up a home, a spot, for another dog who needs a family.

Wait until you're ready and until you feel like you are ready to open your heart to another dog. Jake will always be there with you guys.

Hugs to you!


Feb 5, 2006
the forest dim
I'm so sorry, i know how hard this is...Jake looks like such a sweetie. It really depends on when you feel that you are ready. There is no set time. I personally could not do it right away and would need some time to greive, because I wouldn't want to be looking at the new puppy going, "you're not Jake" KWIM? it has to be long enough so that the new dog has a fair and fresh start with you and your family. Good luck and I wish you all the best!


Apr 6, 2007
I agree that it is different for everyone.

Personally, I seem to wait about two months before getting a new dog. I don't know why other than maybe that's how long it takes me to handle the grief and be ready for a new addition.

You will know when it's right for you.


My baby, Bellis
Aug 8, 2006
I am so sorry about the loss of your sweet Jake. He is too adorable for words. The correct answer is, as soon as you are ready. If you are ready today then that is the right time. If it is a year from now that's fine too. When I lost my cat, Elliott, I adopted Malcolm 2 weeks later. Do what feels right to you. Hugs.


May 9, 2006
Washington, D.C.
I am so sorry for your loss of Jake. It sounds like you gave him a warm, loving and fun home while you could.

I think the right time is when you are ready, and no one else can dictate that time to you. I know a woman who adopted a cat the same afternoon she lost her 17 year old cat...and I know other folks that take months before they are ready again. You'll know you're ready when you start looking again :smile:

dusty paws

Sep 20, 2006
East Bay, CA
Beth, I'm so sorry about the loss of Jake. He was a beautiful dog.

When Sally died suddenly in June, it took my family (and neighbors and friends) awhile to get over it. Dad started looking around for a new puppy in November/December. He found the CARE website and one evening we all just "took a ride" down there to see the puppies. Once he had picked Abby out, my dad said "it's this one or none". So a very tiny Abby rode home with us that evening.

I disliked Abby for the longest time - I was still struggling with the loss of Sally, but soon I realized that Abby wasn't replacing Sally - no dog could ever replace Sally - and I had to realize that its like that with all new pets.

I wish you and your family the best in your difficult time. *hugs*


Oct 21, 2007
Vancouver, BC
Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss - it sounds like Jake was a wonderful dog. I haven't yet had to deal with this but as a pet owner I obviously know it is coming one day - although until it does I just don't know what I would do.

I have friends who have gotten another dog or cat immediately after theirs passed away, and then others who have waited months or years. I like the thought that the departed one will let you know when it is time... basically that you will be drawn to do it when the time is right for you, and it is different for everyone as we all grieve differently.