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Pet Adoption After Losing a Pet

If your family has experienced the loss of a pet, or if your pet is getting older, one thing that often comes to mind is whether or not you are ready for another pet. Should we wait or get a new pet right away? Should we wait until the older pet dies and first have a pet memorial for the kids? Would getting a new dog traumatize the older pet? Should we buy or adopt a pet?

The most important thing to do is to access your situation. Often times, when one pet is getting old, it’s a good idea to go ahead and introduce a new pet. It may even help the older pet live longer.

It is often easier to introduce two pets when they are young, but with a little know-how, it is possible to introduce a new pet to your old one. If you have plenty of love for both of them and a lot of patience, you can do it.

You must first be sure that your new pet is disease-free and up-to-date on its shots because you don’t want your older pet to get sick. Make sure both pets are neutered, and that you’ll be able to afford your new pet. Here’s a chart for the average first year of expenses for pets:

A small dog is $780; a large dog is $1,500; a cat is $640, a rabbit is $885 and a small bird is around $185.

Adopting a pet is the best thing people can do nowadays, because there are so many. There is a viral email petition going around concerning the Obama family dog, asking Senator Obama and his family to adopt their first dog. He promised children they could get a dog no matter whether he wins the election or not.

Over four million unwanted pets are in the United States, many of which are up for adoption. Sadly, seven million dogs and cats are killed each year due to overpopulation. Did you know that 20 to 30 percent of the dogs up for adoption in shelters are purebreds? The other 70 to 75 percent are most often mixed breed animals.

In order to adopt a pet, you might want to start by visiting www.petfinder.com, a site that lists many shelters across the US. You can also search for specific breeds or breed mixes. Also just be aware that if all dogs on a particular shelter’s website are described the same way (sweet, loving, friendly, etc.) then that shelter probably doesn’t know the individual dogs’ personalities so you may want to avoid the shelter.

Be sure to contact the shelters in your area and ask about their return policy. Good shelters will accept any dog or cat they have adopted out in the past as a return during any time in his life. Check out the adoption procedures, so you can visit with your new pet outside of the shelter kennel. Good shelters also don’t promote dogs who have a prior history of bad tempers.

Always avoid any preconceptions about what kind of pet including its age, breed, color, sex or size - and be prepared to have an open mind.

Once you have chosen your new pet, the best way to introduce new pets in your family is to put the new pet in his or her own room for a week before allowing the younger pet to be around it. Spend plenty of time with each pet. Let the new pet out of its room, and let the older pet goes in the room where the new pet was staying, so it can get used to the new pet’s smell without being intimidated.

Be very loving to both pets and always respect them. Then let them see one another but do not allow any physical contact. Or you could separate the animals with a child gate. If you hear some hissing or growling, know that this is normal. Once they seem to be used to seeing one another, let them get together, but make sure that someone supervises them. Provide treats to each animal and feed them in separate bowls at opposite sides of the room so they won’t fight for the food. This should be done at the same time every day until the animals become used to the routine. Over time, move the dishes closer together - slowly. If either animal shows signs of aggression, move their dishes back to the original starting point. Wait a few more days and move the pans closer once again.

Never let your animals be together unsupervised until they are completely comfortable with one another, to avoid fights. This process may take anywhere from one to six weeks. However if done right, in the end, you will have a calm family and happy pets.

And as sad as it may be, when an older pet dies, make sure that you have planned for a pet memorial. Let your children help choose a pet urn for cremation, or a pet casket for their pet’s burial, along with a memorial keepsake box for photos. This along with adopting another pet, can help children through sad times.[ad#ad-1]

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Pet Loss - How to Help Children Grieve

Children can be devastated by the death of a pet, even a little hamster or a rat. A structured sequence of events will help them let go and move on.

When a pet dies, be practical and upfront. Tell the child that it is natures way - animals are born, they live their lives and they die. Better not to give them hope that they are just asleep or they will expect them to wake up and be alive again. More pain when they realize this is not going to happen. Get them busy with making decisions about what happens next.

If practical, decide where the animal is to be buried. Talk about how the chosen place is “nice and shady” or “under their favourite tree” to make them feel the pet would like to lie in rest in that spot.

If not practical (ie. the animal is being buried elsewhere) then choose a place where a little memorial can be set up.

Let the child take a sheet of paper and draw a picture and /or write a few words about their pet. Slip the paper into a plastic sleeve and attach it to a cross (garden cane can be used to make a cross - use string to bind the two sticks together) If a cross is not appropriate for your religion, then just use the cane as a stake.

nm_child_cat_080515_mnHold a little ceremony and help the child put his picture up on the spot chosen. If you feel the child will be too upset, seeing the actual burial, then arrange for that to be done without him there and then have the ceremony later. If practical, a small plant can be planted on the site or place a flower in a simple container, like a jam jar.

Give the child a small photo album or scrapbook and let him put together (with your help if needed) some of the photos you have of the pet and let him draw and write about any of the memories you have of his pet … funny things he did, where he liked to sleep, tricks, his favourite food, naughty things he did and so on. (If it is say a rat and you don’t have photos, then look on the Internet and find a similar looking rat.)

While a new pet will never replace, exactly, the one just lost, it will go a long way in easing the pain and distracting the child from his loss. Don’t think, that it is not a good idea, as it too will die one day. That is life and children are better for growing up aware, that that is how it is.

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