Ask the Hairy Dogfathers: How Soon is Too Soon?

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After 16 wonderful years, we had to say “goodbye” to Maisy, our beloved Golden Retriever. She was a beautiful soul – happy to give a wag, or drop a soggy tennis ball at the feet of a friend. Strangers were just people that weren’t friends yet. Maisy loved everyone, and everyone loved her back. Maisy loved life and she filled ours with joy. Letting go of her was one of the hardest things my wife and I have ever faced.

Now here’s the question: how soon is too soon? I know what we can never replace Maisy, but I have an ache in my heart. My wife says she is not ready for another dog, and that she may never be!

I know that if she has a wriggly little fluff ball in her arms, she is going to fall head over heels in love. But how soon is too soon to bring a puppy home to surprise her?

From “Now or Never”

Related: Top 5 Things NOT To Say When a Friend’s Pet Dies

Sounds like Maisy had a very good life. You pose a good question, one that doesn’t have a straightforward answer. It’s natural that Maisy’s passing will leave a void in your life; after all she was special to you and part of your daily routine. It’s good that you understand that you won’t be able to replace Maisy, she had a special place in your life, so hold onto those memories. Even if it has some similarities, a new dog will be different, and your relationship with it will also be unique. Some people start looking for a dog right away, while others take longer… there is really no right answer here.

Seems your dilemma is that you and your wife may feel differently right now. It’s quite possible that she may come around to your way of thinking, but she needs to fully grieve Maisy before she can get there. At this point, surprising her with a puppy may not be a good idea. Try giving her some time and taking things a little slower. One thing you could consider is honoring Maisy’s memory by donating some of Maisy’s things (collar, gently used toys, etc.) to a local shelter, and while you’re there, it couldn’t hurt to visit the dogs up for adoption.

Related: Why Did She Shop, Instead of Adopt?

What a beautiful soul Maisy was! Thank you for sharing her story with us. Sharing the memories of her life is important, and by exploring these memories with your wife, perhaps you will both come to a conclusion on whether you have another dog in your life.

There is no time line for this. Everyone processes grief differently, as you and your wife are both demonstrating. Let her have her peace and come to terms with this in her own time.

In the meantime, you could get your dog fix by volunteering to walk dogs at the local shelter? Or perhaps fostering a pooch? Both options will give you time to grieve while allowing you to help dogs in need.


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