November 10, 2012

Web communities helpful when dealing with pet grief

Dear Dog Lady,

We recently lost Dandy, our beloved 10-year-old Yorkie, to complications from surgery trying to remove an intestinal cancerous 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? — Andrea

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, a world-wide comprehensive site that provides a digital group hug for those dealing with pet grief.

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