November 9, 2015
In July 2015, the Inquisitive Canine team supported CEO Poncho the dog’s entrepreneurial decision to start his own ventures in the great beyond. A philanthropic pooch through and through, he left behind a letter to his dear readers and fellow inquisitive canines, along with a three-part series in his Last Woof & Testament that generously included the following valuable advice for dog parents and their inquisitive canines.
I’ve heard through the grapevine that some well-meaning friends have asked my mom and dad when they’ll get another inquisitive canine. It’s a tough question, because even though my parents adore canine companionship, I know they’ve barely begun their grieving process.
Making the move to get a dog is an extremely individual decision. Professionally, I know my mom is comfortable being around other dogs right now. But as far as personal visits when she’s not working, it’s hard for her to be around dogs without getting teary-eyed.
No Timeline for Pet Loss Recovery
Some pet parents who’ve lost a furry friend refuse to go through heartbreak again. You know how some people choose never to remarry after the passing of a spouse? Some dog parents choose not to adopt again, and often channel their affection for canines toward being a loving “aunt” or “uncle” to friends’ or relatives’ dogs instead. Then there are those pet parents who after undergoing a period of grieving, are ready to open their hearts again to another dog. What’s important to remember is that any of these choices are valid, and the way you choose to handle your grief — and your timeline for doing so — is perfectly OK.
I recently overheard my mom say she considers me her litmus test. “The dogs I meet on a daily basis — they’re just not Poncho. But when I do get a new dog, I’ll make sure I’m ready so I won’t compare the love of Poncho to him or her. I won’t be looking to fill Poncho’s harness, so to speak.”
Take your time to make sure you’re ready, so you can fully devote yourself to a new loveable animal who will welcome you with open paws and an excited tail wag.
When You’re Ready for Your Search
Many dog parents begin their search based on breed or color or how adorable they find a face. When my parents and I adopted each other, they weren’t necessarily searching based on looks; they were more interested in personality. My mom once said, “Sure, Poncho could’ve passed the ball to anyone, but he passed it to us, and we knew then and there he would be part of our family.”
What can I say? They found me charming! Guess what? They unequivocally charmed me, too.
Another big consideration is finding a pooch that fits your lifestyle. Not only did my personality make me the ideal candidate to be a helpful assistant to my mom and the Inquisitive Canine’s most trusted product tester, but also, my size complemented my parents’ daily lives. My tiny frame meant I was perfect for lap-warming duties and made it easier for us all to travel together.
Don’t know where to start? Make a list to prioritize what matters most to you and you’ll be able to narrow down your choices.
Helpful Tip: Consider Options Beyond Dog Adoption
Pet adoption is a huge commitment. So before you take that step, it’s important to know about other available avenues for canine companionship.
Fostering canines is a great way to enjoy doggie cuddles without making a long-term commitment. It’s also a big help to local shelters trying to find loving homes for several pooches at a time. Fostering also enables pet parents to get to know different breeds and personality types, which in turn helps them later choose which type of dog they might like to adopt next.
Another option is to volunteer at an animal shelter. Again, you’ll get to know all kinds of dogs and make a significant difference in their lives. You could also offer to dog-sit for friends and family, or become a dog-walker and build a daily bond with a pet family.
You’ll Just Know
So, how will you know when you’re ready? The answer is, you’ll just know. When you’re open to welcoming another canine into your family, you’ll see a dog and little hearts will dance over your head and over the dog’s head as well. It’s a beautiful thing! My mom said she saw something in the soul of my eyes and immediately felt a bond.
Trust your instincts and be patient. You’ll meet your match when it’s the right time.
Let’s face it: Caring for a different species altogether involves taking a risk. The flipside of being together is the eventual separation that the circle of life requires. But life can be so much more meaningful with a canine companion at your side, and while dogs and humans practice different communication styles, keep in mind that we all have the same wants: comfort, love, trust, someone who won’t judge you when you cry, and another being to help make you laugh.
Like my mom says, “Poncho has shown us how wonderful it is to be pet parents, and how incredible it is to care for a nonhuman animal.”
Right back atcha, Mom!