How soon is too soon when getting a new pet after another one dies? If you had asked me three weeks ago I would have disagreed with what I’m about to say and that is to say that you should get a pet when you really need one.
When our first Welsh Terrier died I was devastated. If you’ve had a family pet before you know that it can be almost as difficult as losing a human – sometimes even more difficult. Now before you think that this comment is unfeeling, think about it. Our relationships with other humans can be very complex, full of good and bad memories or events, and this often affects the way we feel when they pass on. Our pets, on the other hand, love us unconditionally. They don’t hold grudges or remember that we yelled at them. They don’t care about who we are, how much money we make, what color of skin we have, or how old we are. Queen Elizabeth’s Corgis don’t care who she is.
I digress. When Taffy, our most recent Welsh Terrier (and author of Taffy Talks) died, I thought we would wait as long as we did after our first Welsh died – and that was eight months. Well-laid plans have a way of turning out differently than you expect. I began to do research online to see who bred Welsh Terriers (they are uncommon as opposed to most breeds) and only found two breeders in all of Canada. One was located in Atlantic Canada and the other in Mission,BC. I was very impressed with Darwyn Welsh Terriers and contacted them for information on future litters. (Check out their site).
To make a long story short, a pup that the breeder had originally intended to keep as a show dog turned out to have a slight underbite – something that isn’t acceptable in competitions so she decided to sell her to us. We picked up our new 12 week old puppy at the airport and brought her home on the very day that Taffy would have turned 12 had she lived. I like to imagine that she saw how lonely I was without her and sent me a gift.
We named our new six pound bundle of energy Tessa. I have to admit, we had forgotten how much work it was to have a puppy around the house. Everything has to be puppy-proofed as she puts everything in her mouth. Puppy “potty-training” is an experience that I had forgotten about…:) but this task is becoming more successful as time goes on.
So, did we make a mistake getting a puppy so soon? At first I may have felt like we were being disloyal to Taffy by “replacing” her so soon after she died, but knowing her gentle, loving spirit, she would have agreed with the “dog” who wrote a Letter to My Master. An elderly dog writes to his owner towards the end of his life that if he had been successful as a companion, it meant that his master could never again live without another dog. And if that is the measure of a dog’s worth, then Taffy was more successful than she will ever know.