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We sadly had to put our 11 year old westie "White Dog" down on Friday. White Dog was the best friend of our 12 year old Lhasa "Black Dog."

I have had BD since he was 6 weeks old and, for the first year of his life, we lived with my parents and their 2 dogs. Then we moved out on our own and added WD to the family to be BD's companion. While a bit wary of other dogs, BD became inseparable from WD.

Our vet has said that introducing a puppy can help keep an older dog feeling younger. While free of medical issues, BD is defiantly slowing down. I fear that BD will begin a steep decline now that WD is gone.

Our vet also emphasized the importance of allowing time for my husband and I to grieve. We are doing plenty of that but we have already started to look into getting another dog. This is not so much to patch over our loss, but to fill the significant hole in BD's life. It is absolutely heartbreaking to watch BD search for WD around the house and I feel that it will only perpetuate my own grief.

I'm seeking general advice from other who have experience with a similar situation. And also more specific advice such as should the new dog be male? (BD is neutered). And when we go to look at puppies, should we let BD interact with them?
 

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People heal at different paces. When our last boys were killed, my brother got a new puppy the next week. Four years later, I still don't have a dog of my own. I haven't personally been in this same situation, but a client of mine is in it. She recently euthanized her BMD and now her IW is mopey and depressed. She is looking into getting a Leonberger puppy in the winter/spring.

Introducing a puppy into a household with an older dog can be hit or miss. The puppy may just annoy the bejeezus out of BD, but that's why we have training. You can try to find a younger dog who is known to be calm and friendly with others. Gender doesn't matter. Some people in the world still insist that it is impossible for two dogs of the same sex to get along with each other. It may be helpful to bring BD along with you when looking at potential dogs, but keep an eye on his body language. You don't want to stress him out.
 

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My condolences.

I have many times in my life been through the losing of an older pet and being left with it's companion. I've always had two dogs in my life and just the way things turned out, one was usually 2 or 3 years older than it's companion...and so...I usually ended up putting one to sleep a few years before the next one's health issues dictated that I do the same.

In order, I went from Sampson and Hey You...to Hey You and Shilo. Then, Shilo and Ernie...then Ernie and Lacey and then finally Lacey and Harper. Unfortunately, Lacey and Harper died within months of each other. I put Lacey to sleep do to old age and Harper became very ill with diabetes shortly after that so a 30 year string ended of me going from one set of dogs to introducing a new dog to a remaining one. I'm 51 years old btw.

I don't really agree with your vet that a younger dog (puppy) will make an older dog feel young. Old age is old age...and puppies are full of energy that an elderly dog just doesn't have, and I think all a puppy has more chance of doing, is:
1. wearing down an old dog in trying to play to the point of the old dog feeling harassed
2. As the puppy matures, it realizes it's stronger, faster and will probably end up being pretty bossy with the older dog...using it's body to push the older dog out of the way when it comes to going outside, or in trying to get between you and the older dog in a fit of jealousy...etc..

I suppose there are some elderly dogs out there that might welcome a puppy and puppies that will be mild mannered and not over do it with trying to play or torment an older dog. But I wouldn't want to risk my older dog's tranquility on that happening.

I started to adopt full grown dogs to be companions to my elderly dogs. I looked for low energy types that wouldn't be too over bearing or over playful with the dog I was left with. This seems to have worked out rather well over the years.

You can still succeed in getting a younger dog...maybe something like 3 or 4 years old as by then most of the puppy stuff with the constant need to nip and play might be gone from it's system. But again, you should really take the time to question and question and question the (hopefully) adoption agency you get a new dog from...and find out what they think of the dog's personality and energy level.

I hope you can find your dog a new companion. I really do think it helps with them feeling content and less lonely, especially if you need to leave for a few hours at a time.

Btw...this is one of my favorite photos. Ernie, the beige dog, lost his companion of 12 years, Shilo, when I had to put her to sleep at age 14. A few months after Shilo's death, and in doing a lot of looking I found Lacey, an 8 year old Australian Shepherd mix. (I decided to go with the same gender as Shilo...and not a male..as Ernie was male and I didn't know how he would deal with something like that).

Anyway, Lacey turned out to be the absolute perfect companion for Ernie in his old age. She and he would lay on the porch together and often out on the lawn together. They really didn't play...but it was easy to see they loved being in each other's company. When they met for the first time, it was like they had known each other forever. I took this photo about 3 days after I got Lacey and already she and Ernie were getting into the habit of staying close to each other.

Ernie - age 12 in the background, Lacey age 8 foreground


As others here said...give yourself time to grieve and don't let anyone try to make you feel silly for doing so (I ran into that situation a few times over the years). The fact that you are thinking about your current dog's needs and knowing you will be getting another dog in the future is a good sign you have a healthy outlook on your grieving process. It doesn't feel like it now, but time will dull the pain some.

I always said that a wounded heart heals...but sometimes the wound sure leaves a scar.

Stormy
 

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If you want another dog, get it for you. Don't feel obligated to get one to keep BD company or anything like that. BD would likely be just fine with getting all of your love and attention. In fact, a lot of older dogs would probably prefer that. They don't always appreciate a younger companion because pups and adolescents are a lot of work. Older dogs hurt, they don't want to play as much/can't play as much, they can't get around as well. Puppies take a lot more of your attention.

I know it's heartbreaking watching him mourn WD. But a puppy may not even help him. It's just something to keep in mind.

If I were in the situation, I would get another dog only if I wanted one. And even then, I'd not allow it to interact a whole ton with my older dog. I feel like my older dogs deserve some peace and quiet....Not to be harassed by a pup lol.
 

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So sorry for your loss. I agree with the others that a calm adult dog would be a much better match than a rambunctious puppy. I have an older dog, too, and while he happily greets other dogs on our walks, he has no interest in playing with them.

If you decide to adopt again, please look into a rescue group that will allow you a trial period. You'll want to make sure that the dogs are compatible before you finalize the adoption.

Take care and I wish you all the best.
 
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