“When are you getting another pet?”
That’s one of the first, and worst, questions you’ll hear after you lose your companion. After the initial shock has worn off though, you’ll actually think about this question a lot. Are you ready for another pet? Take a moment and reflect.
Have you accepted your pet’s death?
On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, MD, introduced the widely-accepted 5 stages of grieving. The stages are:
You can’t believe your companion has passed away. You wake up every morning expecting them to be there. Then you’re angry, lashing out, blaming uncontrollable circumstances and taking your feelings out on the people close to you.
Bargaining is: ‘what could have I done differently?’ When you’ve exhausted your anger and thought about the circumstances about your pet’s death constantly, you have no mental energy left to fight the depression. The sadness hits hard. But the final stage, acceptance, eventually comes.
Did you remove your pet’s belongings?
This stage is difficult because owners feel like they’re ‘betraying’ their pets by removing their belongings. The doggie bed, scratching post, toys; you hold onto these to keep your pet close. If the toys and furniture are near new, it’s better to donate them over just taking them to the tip. Pets in care, and their caretakers, will appreciate them more.
After a while, you’ll miss the items less and less. Pet owners normally have pictures of them and their dog/cat/other companion around and these are harder to be rid of. It’s a good sign though, when you look at them and don’t feel as intensely sad as before.
What does the family think?
Even if you live alone, getting the family’s opinion is important. They want what’s best for you.
But if you’re part of a family unit (couple with kids, married, etc), this is a step that can’t be avoided. A pet is a shared responsibility.
How’s your lifestyle right now?
You’ve probably been without a pet for a while now. Assess your lifestyle. Was your previous companion holding you back from doing things you wanted or did they enrich your experiences? Are you ready to take on the expenses and duties of having a pet again?