Registered: 1556499664 Posts: 42
I haven't written on here in a while, but I have something I'd like some help with. This is going to be a long post. To summarise these past few months, we had to put our dog, Patches, to sleep on his 11th birthday (March 30, 2019). I've been an absolute mess since then. We decided to adopt a puppy on April 27, 2019, but it didn't work out. I started crying as soon as we brought him home because I realised that I just wasn't ready for another dog. Our vet suggested waiting at least 1 whole year before getting another dog, so that's what I intended to do. Except for one thing... my mom changed her mind and said, "no more dogs." That completely crushed me and I kind of lost all hope. My mom's cousin has been texting me, and she also lost her dog around the same time we did. She's the type of person to get another dog as soon as she possibly can. Patches was the first dog I've ever loved and lost and it hit me hard. This month (December), I got 2 tattoos: 1 is of his paw prints, and the second is a portrait with flowers. I thought that getting them would help me with the grieving process, but I'm still just as upset as before. The grief comes and goes, but when it's here it's really bad. Bad to the point where I'll get panic attacks. I'll replay his last few days over and over in my mind and I can't get our vet's voice out of my head saying that it's time to start thinking about putting him to sleep, then him saying, "Patches is gone. I'm so sorry." It drives me into an awful spiral and I have to take something to calm down. I'm writing this because I'm not sure how to tell if I'm ready for another dog or not. My cousins just got an 8 week old Shihpoo puppy and we met him today. I saw the pictures of him online and I cried. When we got to their house for Christmas, I saw him and immediately fell in love with him. Then after about 15 mins I ran out of the house crying and he followed me to the door (they told me he doesn't do that with anyone) and he waited until I came back inside. But my mom came outside with me and she was crying too. She gave me a hug and we talked about how we miss Patches and how I would really like to get another dog and she asked me if I'm ready. I don't know. I'm worried that if we get another dog, the same thing will happen like with the rescue we fostered. I keep thinking about how happy I was when we first got Patches, and I'm wondering if I'm chasing that feeling. I've been diagnosed with depression and anxiety among other things, and so 1) I overthink everything, and 2) I've been chasing happiness for as long as I can remember. I remember the feeling of getting the house ready for Patches to come home and then finally getting him and instantly falling in love. When we got our foster, I felt none of that. I dreaded going shopping for toys, I didn't want to hang out with him, I didn't want to be around him. That's not fair to the dog at all and I don't want to do that to him. So really, I have no idea how to tell if I'm truly ready for a dog or if I'm rushing into it. It kills me to know that at some point I'll have to go through all of this again and I'm not sure if I have it in me. I'm scared that I'm going to compare the new dog to Patches and I know that's wrong. Another reason why I want to get another dog is because I want to keep some sort of "normal." The new normal we have is just not okay with me; the house is too quiet. I don't have anyone to greet me when I come home. A few times this week I've said, "Bye Patches" before leaving and then it hit me that he's gone. Also, the vet we used was absolutely amazing and this may sound weird, but I miss him. Towards the end of Patches' life, we were at the vet at least once a week and if I went there anxious, I left feeling a lot better because the doctor was so calm and I picked up on those vibes. I don't know if by me getting another dog, I'm trying to fix something that can't be fixed. I don't know what I'm trying to accomplish by getting another dog ... Is it to help me through the grieving process, do I think that I'll get another Patches, do I even WANT another dog? I feel like I'd be cheating on Patches or being disloyal or failing him or something. I do appreciate all the love dogs have to offer, and they certainly help with my mental state, but I'm worried that I'd be getting a dog for all the wrong reasons. Thank you for reading. Any advice is greatly appreciated. -Danielle
Registered: 1577455592 Posts: 4
Patches mom. Pets are a great way for people to deal with depression and anxiety. What can warm your heart and ease your mind better than a dog happy to see you and be with you all the time? I wish I could say you won’t go through this all over again if you got another dog but let me ask you... Would you trade a second with Patches if it meant not being sad over her loss? I’m sure the answer to that is a resounding, NO. Getting another dog is not being disloyal or failing Patches. No other dog is going to take the place of Patches and I am sure your love for a new dog will be just as strong. People like you and everyone else on this site are special as we view animals as family and not pets. Any dog you chose to foster or rescue will be lucky to have you and I bet will return the feeling 1000 times over. I am sorry for your loss.
Registered: 1444060919 Posts: 639
>>>>So really, I have no idea how to tell if I'm truly ready for a dog or if I'm rushing into it.<<<< <<< Is it to help me through the grieving process....>>> >>>>Another reason I want to adopt a dog is to keep some sort of normal".You are adopting a live being who needs your full attention. Adopting a dog to help you heal or because you want to feel normal is about you and not the dog. >>>I do appreciate all the love dogs have to offer, and they certainly help with my mental state.<<< Since you know from doing such a wonderful job with Patches, a dog is someone who needs a mom or dad who wants them independent of what the parent is going to get out of it.
Registered: 1556499664 Posts: 42
I agree with you about how dogs can be therapeutic, especially for those suffering from depression and anxiety. Whenever I was upset, Patches would come running over to me. Then he'd start barking which would lead to a game of chase. He definitely helped ease my worries and other stress. I am so grateful for every moment we shared with Patches, and I would never ever trade a second of that if it meant my current sadness would go away. He was one of the best things to ever happen to me & I'm so sad that he's gone. I still feel a bit guilty though, but I'm not quite sure why. -Danielle
Registered: 1556499664 Posts: 42
Thank you for your response. I see where you're coming from, but I partly disagree. I agree and understand that dogs are commitments and that I have to be all-in if/when we do decide to get another one. A few family members have told me that getting another dog helped them through the grieving process. They were able to make a new connection and it helped them accept the fact that their other pet has passed away. What I meant by "keeping that same sort of normal" is that I miss having someone to greet me when I come home. I miss having someone I can care for and play with. I feel so empty now that Patches is gone. I loved every second of taking care of him. From the long walks, trips to the beach, pool parties, late night trips to the ER, medication 3x/day, insulin shots... I miss all of it. It hurts not having anyone to care for and I would love to be able to do that for another pet someday. My "normal" was caring for Patches and now that I don't have that responsibility, I don't feel complete. I want that "normal" back where I can take my dog for a walk, feed him, teach him new tricks, etc. It felt good having a routine like that. I've been to a few therapists throughout the past few years, and they've all mentioned how beneficial having pets can be especially for people with depression and anxiety. Patches gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Without him, I didn't have any reason to take a shower, eat, go out, or do anything. It was a mutually beneficial relationship. He helped calm me down during my panic attacks, and now that he's not around I'm stuck dealing with things on my own and it's really difficult. I understand that I can't be completely dependent on someone else and that I do have to learn how to work through things by myself, but having Patches with me helped me so much. He taught me so many things about life and love and I want to use what I've learned to be a better person.