Monday, February 22, 2010

New Friends

Mike and I spent Saturday visiting pet adoption sites. We are cautiously considering adopting another dog. The decision to add a new dog to our family leaves me feeling excited and uneasy. Dogs are a huge part of our life and we want a dog in our life, but at the same time whenever I think about getting another dog I feel as though I'm betraying Molly. Rationally, I know this is ridiculous, but emotionally it's not so clear.

I'm reminded of a line I heard in a movie. New friends don't replace the old ones, new friends aren't better than the old ones, they're just different. I need to remember that I'm not replacing Molly by adopting a new dog. I can still hold onto my memories of Molly while I love the new dog for the individual creature that he or she is.

During my interview with Teresa Freeman, a counselor from Nebraska, I asked her about adding a new pet to the family after a pet has died.
Why is it important to fully grieve the loss of your pet before you get another pet?

The decision to get another pet is another common issue. Again, there is no right or wrong decision. Many people are ready emotionally to replace a pet rather quickly. Others need more time. The most important factors here are making certain that the new pet is not being used as a “replacement” for the lost pet. The new pet must be loved for themselves…not as a way to ease guilt or to objectify the lost pet. New pets must be loved for the individuals they are. It is an injustice to the pet and the owner if this boundary is not clear. If there are doubts, it is probably best advised to wait. That being said, people must listen to their hearts and make decisions in this area that are honorable to everyone involved. I always believe, however that pet lovers have huge hearts and much love to give and that somehow there will be more animals in their lives to love.

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