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Getting A New Pet

Category: 

Grieving Process

Posted On: Oct 11, 2016

Getting a new pet

Grief over the loss of a pet is the only kind of grief we suffer where we consider replacing the object of our grief with a new version.

And why not? Pets bring us so much joy and happiness, something you need in spades when you are grieving. And no – getting a new dog or cat doesn't mean you loved your passed-on pet any less, or is any less one of a kind or meaningful to you. It's just that a new dog, cat, or whatever your preference (bird, lizard, fish, etc) is like a 20 cc injection of happiness and joy into your life. Why would you put that off?

But there are proper steps to take as well as mistakes to avoid when getting a new pet. Consider:

Get your pet from a reputable pet store or animal shelter

It can be tempting to take in a stray, especially if they seem to have nowhere to go, but it's rarely a good idea. Adopting your pet from a good shelter or pet store will mean that, unlike the stray, your cat has all of its shots and inoculations. If it's old enough, it might already be spayed or neutered. And they might even microchip your animal for you, so it can be potentially be found if it's lost.

An animal shelter is especially a good idea, because in that case, you are not just adopting an animal, but rescuing one – many shelters have to euthanize pets to prevent extreme overcrowding. So the clock is ticking on all the animals at shelters that are not no-kill shelters.

But either way, pet stores and shelters are expert guides of information in terms of adoption, care, and followup with the animals they adopt out. Go the tried-and-proven route.

Consider adopting an older pet

Speaking of those shelters that euthanize animals, that's especially a concern for adult animals. People want puppies and kittens,so those go first. While it's understandable that you'd want something as impossibly cute and playful as a puppy or a kitten, they are also more work during a time in your life that the extra work and hassle might not be best for you.  Adult cats and dogs are typically more placid, chill, and self-sufficient (to a degree) than their baby versions, and that lower-maintenance factor will probably be particularly a boon to you while you're grieving.

Choose a pet that's right for your situation

Too often, we choose a pet based solely on how cute and affectionate they are, and that's a mistake if that's all you consider. You have to pick an animal that fits with your lifestyle and home situation.

For example: do you live with a pregnant woman? Then you might want to postpone getting a cat, because litter boxes can cause toxoplasmosis in pregnant women.

Choosing the right animal is especially crucial if you're getting a dog. Some dog breeds need a ton of exercise, and others are content to be lap dogs. Some need to be the only animal of the house, some thrive with lots of other pets. Some work well with babies and small children, others do not. These are all things you have to take into account when getting a pet, and overlooking these factors can create big problems down the line – for you, and for your pet.