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Hi everyone.

I'm new to the forum and didn't really know where to post this. I just need to talk with other dog people right now.

A little background: I have a 4 year old terrier mix (pretty sure she's really a mountain feist), a 7 year old cat, and up until two weeks ago a 16 year old springer. We put down the springer due to health issues and, while I was devestated to lose my best friend, I really thought I was taking it well. After a week I felt sad but overall okay and found myself wanting another dog. My boyfriend though it was a bit soon but he agreed to check the shelters with me. We came across a people-loving min-pin who seemingly got along well with my terrier. Within 2 days, I knew this poor little dog wasn't right for the family. Not only was he compulsively humping my terrier to the point of her getting depressed, he also proved to be aggressive with my cat. Heartbroken (I really believe that you adopt for life), I brought him back to the shelter. I never thought I would do that with a dog. I still feel guilty.

After another week, I still felt the urge to have a second dog. Just yesterday I decided to check out the same shelter that my terrier came from. Initially, I didn't think they had anyone for me but then they brought in this wonderful, shy mountain cur mix from her walk. She was a big but very timid girl and I was drawn to her immediately. After spending about 3 hours with her at the shelter, a few walks, a cat test, and a meeting with my terrier that went wonderfully, we decided to bring her home. I was so thrilled.

Unfortunately, my stress and anxiety seems to have set in today, only the second day of having her. She is so sweet. She loves to snuggle with my terrier and really has shown minimal interest in the cat so far. However, I can't help but have this horrible anxiety about the possibility of her all of a sudden changing and killing my cat. I've never had this worry before. My springer always loved and snuggled the cat and the terrier, though she would chase when the cat when running initially, does nothing more than sniff the cat and walk away. Why am I so worried about this dog who has done nothing to make me think she'll be a cat killer? Was it the trauma of the min-pin going after my cat?

I'm also starting to wonder if this stress and anxiety I feel is related to not fully dealing with the loss of my springer. I worry that I'm looking for faults in this poor sweet dog because she isn't him. I worry that I've done all of this too quickly because I've been out of my mind since he died and I'm just realizing it.

I don't want to bring this poor dog back. The shelter I got her from does technically do a two week trial so I can if I need to but it seems so wrong. I am not the kind of person to get animals and return them, and now I find myself contemplating it for a second time in two weeks. This is not me, I swear it. I feel so terrible. If it wasn't for this strange, likely irrational fear of her turning on my cat I wouldn't be so worried. As I type, she is laying at me feet. The cat has been walking past her all day and she only sometimes perks up a bit for it. She'll follow the cat with her eyes for a bit but I do try to redirect her.

I don't really know what I'm hoping to get from this post. It might just be catharsis more than anything else. Feel free to comment with any advice or experience that you may have. Please don't judge me. I know I haven't been doing the right thing. I've beat myself up enough.
 

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I'm so sorry for your loss!

I've got one word for you.... Time.

You need to give yourself and the new pup time, time to adjust to each other, time for her to settle in and for you to learn her true temperament, time for everyone to bond.

I went through something similar after Shadow, my 17 year 8 month old dog, passed away. I had that dog for all of my adult life, he was my buddy, a family member, and even though I knew it was for the best when he passed on I was still devastated. I got my new boy 6 months later. Zody was a year old when my friend, who had raised him, gave him to me. Zody loved my friend, and seemed to view me as little more then a roommate / servant, and I just seemed to want Shadow back. A month later it got a bit better, but still no real connection. 7 months in, after watching him go crazy with joy for my friend who raised him, and then, less then a day later, he barely raised his head when I came home from the store, I walked out of the house in tears and gave serious thought to giving him back to my friend. I stuck it out and in another month or two we turned a corner and bonded. Last month was our 3 year Gottcha anniversary and he is the love of my life, best part is the feeling is mutual now, he loves me.

Give yourself and the new pup time, and don't be surprised if the bond takes awhile to form. Give yourself time to grieve for your old dog, and don't be upset if you don't feel much for the new dog at first. It does get better, and it's worth the time it takes.
 

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I'm sorry you're going through this.
I agree, time heals all.
I can definitely understand that "empty void" feeling left when you lose a beloved animal, and the subsequent desire to try & fill it w/ another pet...but I personally think you may have been better off waiting a little longer before bringing another dog into your home.
I got my current dog (Nika the Noodle) about 6 months after my last dog (Kovsky) died tragically & unexpectedly. I was not looking for another dog, but she just kind of fell into my lap (and I'm so glad she did! she's done nothing but make my life better since the first moment I saw her). It was too soon for my boyfriend, who was still very upset about the Kovsky's death, but he grew to love the Noodle immensely.
But still to this day almost 7 years later, I sometimes have horrible, irrational anxiety about Nika dying suddenly; because of the awful way in which I lost Kovsky. Every time even the slightest thing goes awry w/ her health I am thrown into a panic (as evidenced by my posts on the "Dog Health" forum here). When she was a puppy, it was much worse -- I constantly worried that anything & everything might kill her; or that if I ever let her off-leash that she'd run off & I'd lose her forever, etc. Like I said, I do still have these fears sometimes; and in fact have irrational fears about all of my animals dying...but it's better.
Time will help.

If you really feel your anxiety is just too high having this new dog in your home, I certainly wouldn't fault you for returning her to the shelter. However, if you do, I would suggest that you make sure to hold off on acquiring another for at least a good few months, until you are really CERTAIN you are psychologically ready to take in a new dog.
But I also think that if you just take some deep breaths & try to stay relaxed, maybe take some steps to keep the new dog & cat separated for a while if it will help relieve your anxiety, and give yourself some time to bond w/ your new dog & become comfortable w/ the situation, that everything will probably be just fine.

;) and if it might make you feel any better -- my Noodle dog is a horrible, vicious cat chaser, but she has not EVER in her life actually injured a cat in any way whatsoever. Even if for some insane reason your new dog did happen to decide to chase after your cat (which it does not sound like she's inclined to do), I don't think the chances that your cat would be killed are all that high, especially if you are there to intervene.

it comes down to your decision based on what you feel comfortable w/, & regardless of the decision you make, you should not feel bad about it.
 
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