How long did you wait before getting another dog? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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How long did you wait before getting another dog?

So it's been a few weeks and I can still barely bring myself to write this, but our beloved German shepherd Shadow is no longer with us. She was only 3 years and 3 months old and she had so much more life to live and love to give. In her last few months she became reluctant to go for walks and then one day she couldn't get up. I won't go into detail but the vets concluded that she had spinal stenosis. The vet prescribed strict rest and pain relief but warned us that she would likely need surgery. A few weeks later Shadow was becoming depressed and acting out due to boredom. Her mobility was getting worse and worse despite doubling up on the pain relief. Surgery, if successful, would require even more confined rest. Mentally, this was not the sort of dog that could handle that. Besides it was going to cost us 5 times what the insurance would cover and it felt reckless to borrow money when surgery was not necessarily going to work, cause her even more stress from being confined and at the very best result in a dog who could not run about and have the life she was used to and needed for her mental health. We could have waited another few days, weeks maybe months i don't know, but she was not happy and we didn't want her to suffer through degenerating completely. So we tripled up the painkillers and gave her a few last good days as if everything was back to normal and then we took her to the vet.

We were completely unprepared for how hard it would be to carry through with it, let alone life without her. My husband has convinced himself that she would have gotten better and that we did the wrong thing. There is the overwhelming grief from not having her around anymore and all the future memories we feel robbed of. But also the guilt and doubt about whether we did the right thing or not. The guilt is especially eating my husband up as he had to restrain her when the vet gave the first sedative because she realised something was very wrong. She has left an enormous vacuum in our lives. The house is so quiet and suddenly we even find it spooky living out in the middle of the forest. I have no idea how to process this level of grief. The only thing that helps is distraction. With every happy moment we gain confidence that things will be OK again one day.

So to finally get to my heading question, when should you get a new dog? We are thinking that the distraction of a new puppy would do us good and that it would be a nice way to keep Shadow's spirit alive. But we have not fully processed our loss so I'm worried that it is too soon. Would love to hear from anyone who has experienced a loss and got a new dog, how long did you wait and how was it for you?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 02:58 PM
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It is so hard to lose dog, but especially a young one. Whenever you are ready for another one. Just be careful not to get the first pup out of impulse but select wisely like you normally would. A pup, and even the journey to find a good one, can be very healing and this puppy will not make the memory of you beloved dog go away but rather continue the legacy of these magnificent dogs. Heal well.
PS: please don't second-guess the decision to say goodbye to your dog. We all make the best decisions at that very moment.
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Last edited by wolfy dog; 12-09-2017 at 03:00 PM.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 03:14 PM
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When my lab died at 17, I waited two years. I didnít want another lab because I was afraid it would remind me of Brandy.

I had two GSDs growing up so I THOUGHT I was familiar with the breed. Lord knows those dogs were nothing like this one!!
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At the bridge; forever in my heart
Brandy rescued Labrador
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 03:37 PM
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Life circumstances aided a little in my decisions, but for one, I should note that I’ve always had multiple dogs and the remaining pups assisted in my mourning.

When I lost my 17yr old family dog that had come to live with me, Tilden was adopted just 2 weeks later.

When I lost Gia I was dating a guy with a GSD that helped fill the void and keep Tilden company. When they moved to another state, I got Keystone about 3 months later but it was close to a year after losing Gia.

If Tilden were to pass now, I’d likely be a single dog household for awhile and start over with a fresh slate after both boys are gone. That’s just a hunch tho.
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TILDEN: Male: Blk/Red LHGSD: DOB: 12/24/06 65lbs of Love
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 03:44 PM
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For me it was quickly, we lost 2 dogs in 6 weeks. The house was just too empty and none of us could bear it. Maybe even researching and focusing on your next love will help you through this time. I'm so sorry for your loss.

"If there ever comes a day when we can't be together,keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever." A.A. Milne


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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 03:47 PM
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We adopted a 5 year old Australian Shepherd a fews months after Maverick died, but as you can see in my signature we just recently got a new GSD - going on 10 months now.

Here's a video from Friday morning....

Maverick 04/09/03 to 09/30/14

Ranger 02/06/17 -
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 03:59 PM
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Hit enter to soon....

I'm also very sorry to hear about Shadow. Praying for God's comfort for you and your husband. A quiet house is just an awful experience when the only kids you have ever had are the 4 legged furry ones that bark....

We waited about 3.5 months before we got Piper, but I think I mourned Mavericks death for about a year - although I still miss him and the dogs I had before him including a Shepherd/Huskie mix I had as a boy.

I'd say take some time to heal and don't rush out to replace Shadow right away.

Maverick 04/09/03 to 09/30/14

Ranger 02/06/17 -
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 04:16 PM
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I still miss dogs I have lost and think about them often. My current dogs are still young, but they are only a year or two apart. I feel sad thinking i may lose them around the same time. Please donít second guess your decision with your dog. She was suffering and you gave her the best kindness you could. Only you will know when the time is right for a new puppy. I donít like to be without a dog, so I probably wouldnít wait too long myself. Others prefer longer to grieve. I donít think thereís a right or wrong answer, just whatever helps you to heal.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 04:18 PM
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For me it's always fast. It hurts to lose a dog. The only thing that hurts worse (for me) is losing an immediate family member. I mean, mother, father sibling or child. Even extended family doesn't hurt as much. That said, every moment without a dog feels like a hole for me. There's so much love between a dog and it's owner/family. I prefer to find another dog to love as quickly as I can find a good match. I never rush it but I also don't purposefully wait. Nothing fills the hole entirely because every dog is unique and our relationships are special in their own ways. But there's only so much time in life and I want it filled with as much love as possible.I remember every single dog I've had in my life and I've loved them all just as much, but in different ways. You never replace them, you just find more love to give and receive and we always carry our past dogs with us.

Just never go on impulse. Whether you feel it's time soon or it takes a few years, finding the right dog to love is more important than just getting one. You'll know it's the right time and the right dog because there won't be a question and you won't feel bad or guilty. You'll feel right. It's different for everyone and no matter where you fall on things never feel bad about it.

Edit: And as others have said, never question your choices when it comes to their final days. All you can do is give them your love, care for them as much as you can and keep their quality of life as high as possible until they just don't enjoy it anymore. You're not doing them a disservice by letting them go. You gave the greatest kindness you could. And they always know, they always know we love them. And they generally will tell you when they're ready to go. Never question it when you make that choice for them. You're filling their last days with love and joy, and you're letting them rest peacefully when it's time to let them go. We should all be so lucky to feel that kind of love and have that type of peace at the end.

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Last edited by NerdicEclipse; 12-09-2017 at 04:20 PM.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-09-2017, 04:43 PM
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As others have said , do not second guess the decision you made. It is so very hard to lose a dog, let alone being the one that decides when they should pass. I have always taken great comfort in the quote
" It is better a day too soon, than a day too late"

I have always got another dog quite quickly because to me, my home isn't complete without one. But that doesn't mean I have ever forgotten my girls that have gone before.
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