GRIEVING FOR PETS: When is the right time to welcome a new dog into your home and heart?

GRIEVING FOR PETS: When is the right time to welcome a new dog into your home and heart?


Recently, my close friend and colleague, Jennifer, lost her beloved Jack Russell dog. Skip was 15 years old. 

After his death, Jennifer decided she was not ready to have another dog. To her, he was irreplaceable. I felt the same way when my beautiful, 20-year old Pug dog, Babs, died of old age. She was an incredible companion and loving friend.

For any pet owner, having to end your dog’s pain and suffering is one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make.

Nevertheless, saying goodbye to your beloved dog is an inevitable part of dog ownership.

The process:

For this reason, it is important to have a preferred veterinarian guide you through the heart-wrenching process. Your rapport with your vet and their first-hand knowledge of your dog’s medical history will help you decide what’s best for him when his quality of life doesn’t seem to be or is no longer there. And its quality of life is the most important thing to consider.

I always recommend that you discuss the process of euthanasia at your dog’s first check-up so that you will have the right presence of mind and support when the heart-wrenching moment eventually arrives. Also, talk about the option of euthanising your dog at home along with the burial options.

During the procedure, your vet will allow you to stay with your dog, hug him and say goodbye. This will give you and your dog much comfort. Your vet will also be there to support your dog if you are too upset to stay with him. Try to bring along a friend or family member with you so that you’re not alone after your dog is put to sleep and when you need to decide on the burial process  — even bring him home.

Typically, euthanasia involves an intravenous catheter being placed in the vein followed by an injection that quickly stops the heart. There is no pain or suffering and the process takes approximately 30 seconds. Your vet may also administer a sedative if your dog is already traumatised.

The grieving process will inevitably begin. No matter how many tears you shed — and there will be many — it is important to remember that your dog will be forever grateful that you relieved him from his suffering.

Eventually, time will heal very sad hearts and in some instances, fate may step in when it’s least expected.

Such was the case for one family from Yass, NSW.

New beginnings:

Last April, I met Tania, her husband, Matthew, and Ollie, a handsome, seven-month-old Cavoodle outside the National Art Gallery of Australia in Canberra. Ollie was impossible to miss as he had such an incredible presence. He was happy, responsive and clearly loved being with Tania and Matthew on this particular sun-kissed afternoon.

According to Tania, Ollie came from a reputable breeder in Cootamundra, NSW and the family were one of many Cavoodle lovers on a long waiting list. But as fate would have it, Ollie came into their lives two days after their beloved Labrador, Archie, passed away.

“Archie left a huge hole in our heart but we believe Ollie came into our life for a reason; at that exact time to help us heal our hearts,” said Tania.

As we sat on the edge of a garden bed overlooking Lake Burley Griffith, we continued chatting about Ollie’s unique personality. Clearly, he had the sweetest disposition and the bond between his family was extraordinary.

“Ollie is not only our puppy,” Tania asserted. “He is a huge part of our family and he has brought us much love and joy.”

One of the questions I am often asked is, “When is it the right time to bring another dog into your life?”

Simply, there is no right time or wrong time and don’t let anyone tell you differently. You will just know!

Coming Up:

Our next blog will highlight a number of safety issues when travelling with dogs in the car.

Come back and visit DogSmart Australia online. And join in the conversation on Google+, YouTube, Twitter,  Instagram, and Facebook.

Below:  Jennifer’s beloved boy, Skip in December 2016. He was a gentle, happy and trusting dog, and was always by her side.

Always remember that the biggest gift you can give your dog is when you create a harmonious and loving home. For Tania and Jennifer, knowing that their dogs lived joyful lives gave them much peace in the end.