When is the Right Time to Adopt a New Dog
How do you find love again after your heart has been broken? Not only is this an eternal human question, but it extends to canines as well. Choosing to adopt a new dog after loss isn’t an easy decision, but it’s one many pet owners make.
And it’s a question I’ve been grappling with since the original Inquisitive Canine, Poncho, departed the earth in July 2015. Not only was he my husband’s and my BFF (Best Furry Friend), but he was also the inspiration for and greatest helper in our family business. (If you never met Poncho, you can read about him here.) Losing Poncho to the great beyond was devastating for me, as it is for all other pet-parents out there who have gone through the horrible ordeal of the death of a beloved animal.
I remember so clearly when my husband and I were struggling with Poncho’s condition, and wondering how we’d ever know when the right time would be to let him go.
Many friends reassured me by saying, “You’ll just know.”
And, lo and behold, they were right.
How to know it’s the right time to adopt a new dog?
In a very similar way, I often wondered when we’d be ready to take the plunge and adopt a new dog. Even though I knew in my heart someday we would want to be adopted by another inquisitive canine, neither my husband nor I could imagine how and when that would happen.
As time went on, though, despite the fact I’m surrounded by inquisitive canines all of the time, I began to realize how much I missed being a dog-mom. Getting to participate in classes as a student with my BFF at my side, attending working workshops where I could not only have fun with my dog but also get continuing education credits to keep my certification current, and of course family outings and vacations — because it’s always about our dog. It was rough on both my husband and me not being able to do our favorite activities including Nose Work, agility, Flyball, and Therapy Dog classes. In our family, our dog isn’t just our “baby”; he’s also a motivator, guiding light, and joy to have not just in our home, but also in our community at large.
Still, even as recently as five months ago I was still at the point that I never thought I’d be able to love another dog like I did Poncho. Not the right time to adopt a new dog just yet.
As before, friends told me not to rush, that we’d know when it was time.
This past October we finally reached a point where we both agreed we were ready to begin our search at local shelters and rescue groups and adopt a new dog. We talked with a few organizations and went to several “meet and greets,” but unfortunately, as cute as so many of the dogs were, we didn’t feel that special spark.
By day 108, I was ready to take a break from looking at all of those forlorn eyes. But knowing there were so many inquisitive canines needing homes, I took a breath and continued on.
Believing in the whole “gut instinct” premise, I knew our special someone was out there and sure enough, as soon as I’d just about given up, an alert from Adopt-a-Pet and the Ken-Mar Rescue team showed up in my inbox: “young, male, small, and active.”
Yes, he was all of that, but it was his big, beautiful eyes of the Papillon/Chi-X that captured my attention – even though initially my husband and I were focused more on a scrappy terrier type. Turned out the stunning boy was found on the streets and was taken to one of the LA county shelters. After being on a hold for 21 days and no one claiming him (yes, he was chipped), Ken-Mar Rescue stepped in, scooped him up, placed him with one of their fabulous foster parents, and immediately posted his information on the Adopt-a-Pet website.
Within two hours of receiving the alert, my husband and I were on a mission. After a flurry of emails, phone calls, videos, photos, and FaceTime calls with the foster mom, we knew we’d found our new inquisitive canine to complete our family.
And sure enough, from the time we contacted Ken-Mar to when they made the home check, we knew we’d found our new BFF. Aside from his good looks, his personality won us over — all eight and a half pounds of him.
Today I’m thrilled, overjoyed, and beyond excited about our newfound love and happy to announce that Ringo Starr Hunter Mayer has officially adopted us. I am also happy to announce that he is a brilliant new addition to the Inquisitive Canine and TransPaw Gear staff as well.
As we embark on our new journey, creating a stronger bond every day, I still think about and miss Poncho. He will always be the original inquisitive canine. But, I’ve come to learn that with similar challenging situations, time does help.
A dear friend also reminded me that we, as humans, are capable of so much love to give — this is so true! My mother loved both my brother and me equally (except perhaps when I was 13… but that’s a story for another day). I don’t spend time comparing Ringo to Poncho, which is good.
This to me is proof positive that I was ready to move on and share my love with another inquisitive canine.
When I think about all of the joy and new adventures Poncho brought to my life, I can only imagine what little Ringo will bring. I can already see how many fun times are on the horizon. And for now, the cuddles, playtime, and local outings are already bringing more happiness to my husband and me than we could have imagined.
While you can never be ready for the loss of a beloved pet, when you are ready to open your heart to a new animal, I can assure you that you will absolutely know.
Allow us to be inquisitive. How did you know your dog (or cat, or horse, or bird, or bunny, or…) was the one for you?
Wanna join the conversation? Just head to the comment section below. Care to share pics and videos of your inquisitive canine? We invite you to post on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter – Tweet to us and we’ll Tweet ya back!
Thanks for sharing your experience and hope on the subject. I too just lost my dog of 13+ years, one of the loves of my life and the inspiration for so much of what I do today. He passed just days before this past Christmas, the last of 3 animals in our household to pass in 2 years. Seems like life will never be the same. And I guess it won’t, but I’m glad to know that there will come a day when it will make sense to love again.
Hi, Leslie – Oh my. We are SO very sorry to hear of you losing your beloved inquisitive canine – his siblings too. Sounds like the past couple of years have been very challenging. You’re right – life will be different. Loss is very complicated and personal. My husband and I found that pet grief counseling (both individual and group) were very helpful. The support and stories shared by all helped us get through those tougher days. Do what is best for you – and yes, hopefully your heart will be open again in the future. Cheers & woofs to you and your family. And, thank you for sharing your situation with us and joining the conversation!
I hope you found a special furry friend into your life. I also lost 3 pets in 12 months- all of them lived to become elderly and grey…. but the “end of life” care was 24/7- and I worried about them, all the time. Emotional and physically exhausted. When the last one passed- I finally slept through the night… but felt lost. I know time will heal. Hope the time comes when I know it’s time. So hard.
Thank you! I’ve struggled with the loss of my BFF in September and have looked at shelter pups but just can’t decide on one. I feel as if I’m trying too hard and hoping for that instant spark I had with him. I know it’ll happen again, but reading this was just what I think I needed to “hear”. Thank you again!
Hi Stacy – we are so sorry to hear about the loss of your BFF. Certainly a devastating and challenging situation. Grief is a unique and personal journey. You’ll know when you’re ready to embrace a new BFF – trust your gut, and yourself. Thank you for finding us and joining the conversation. Cheers to you!