Sep 142014

Back in July I shared my sadness at the loss our beloved Golden Doodle, Cody.  I dealt with his sudden down turn in health and vet visits alone, while my family was in the UK visiting my in-laws.  It was very heart wrenching but at the same time, I had time to come to grips with what Cody was going through.   I still miss the big goof.  And he was a goof… a lovable goof.


Our sweet Cody

Cody was also “bad” and destroyed many expensive items (and rolls of toilet paper)  with his sneaky chewing.  For years, we have said Cody would be our last dog.  When I say “we”,  I definitely include myself. 

But then he was gone. 

He was a tall, lanky, noisy Doodle and hard to ignore.  He loved to be pet by anyone and everyone.  We so loved the doofus. 

He made us smile.
He got us outside.
He helped us make new “dog” friends in the surrounding neighbourhood. 

Those are positive reasons for having a dog.  Not to mention the company. 

Someone to talk to … just because. 
Someone to keep your feet warm. 
Someone to remind us we only need simple pleasures to make us happy: a stick, a swim in the lake, a walk.  
And then there is that unconditional love dogs offer so easily.

Only a few weeks after we said goodbye to Cody,  I was asked by a reputable Doodle breeder if we would like to be a “guardian” for a dog she wants in her breeder program.  Basically, breeders cannot always keep all their dogs at their facility or home.  So many breeders, offer puppies to experienced dog owners.  The pups are raised by the guardian, called in “to service”  and eventually the breeder neuters them and the guardian keeps them.  I was so interested!  However, I needed to convince Mr. Nice.  There were so many reasons not to accept.

  • too soon after Cody
  • another long term commitment
  • we said we were not getting another dog
  • we travel

But in the end, I called on my proven sales skills and I basically said we were getting a new dog.  Why?

  • I am “retired” and am at home most of the time
  • Miss Nice was leaving for university August 31
  • Mr. Nice has no plans of retiring for 10 years
  • the dog will truly be “the pick of the litter”. Meaning, the breeder has picked this pup to be part of her breeding program.

But it was SO SOON after Cody?
Have we grieved enough?
Have we given the dog-less life a chance?
Do we really want to house train a puppy?
What about all that chewing business?

Since I would be the “primary care giver”, I was willing to take another plunge. 

I won.

In the middle of August, Miss Nice and I took a 2 hour drive outside Toronto to pick up the puppy.  The entire way  18 year old Miss Nice alternated between asking me “Why are we getting another dog??” AND picking out a name for him. 

She continued to chastise me until she saw him.  Love at first sight. Cuter than Cute!  She was sold. 

On the way home we decided to call him “CHESTER”, a name not our our extensive list of names.  He is the colour of butterscotch pudding but “Butterscotch” is long and silly.  Chester came to mind because he is a pale chestnut colour.   The name is so perfect!

Chester day one

Chester the Labra-Doodle on day one.

He is beyond cute.  Extremely bright.  Loveable. Gentle.  Submissive and fun.

Before leaving for university, Miss Nice was so possessive of him!  From university, she asks about him often.  Meanwhile I can still hear her asking “MOM! Why are we getting another dog?  Are you crazy?” 

Mr. Nice is totally smitten.  He’s always been a softy and Chester has captured his heart.  Chester follows me everywhere.  I think Mr. Nice is a bit jealous Chester is so smitten with me.  LOL

Chester VERY smart and so willing to please.  He is acing puppy school.  (Even after having trained dogs, puppy school is still a great idea.  A chance to brush up on skills and socialize the dog.)

Too soon?? 
NO.  I knew in my heart my family (me!) needed a dog in our lives.  We have had a dog in our home for 22 years!

Have we diminished Cody’ memory? 
NO.  I think of Cody often.  I miss his size and his presence.  Chester is still a little fellow and since he never leaves my side, I trip over him on a regular basis. Cody was kind of hard to miss.

The title of this post refers to “replacing a pet”.   Chester is not a “replacement”.  Chester is a new individual pup.  So far he is not much like Cody except for their mutual love of sticks and the tendency to sleep on his back…paws up!

I would love to hear your thoughts on how soon a new pet should be acquired?

Have you jumped in fast or waited?

Stay tuned!  I am sure there will be many “Chester” adventures in the future!


  17 Responses to “Replacing a Pet: How soon is too soon?”

  1. I think ‘how long’ is different for everyone. I had a cat for 12 years before she got so sick I had to help her go. I thought about getting another cat but at the time I was dating a lot and kept meeting men who were allergic, so I decided to give it a little time. Then I got used to not having any fur on my clothes or a smelly litter box so I resigned myself to not get another one. Years went by until one day I met a client’s Maltipoo. OMG. So adorable! It wasn’t long before I started looking for a dog myself and ended up with my Brussels Griffon Poodle mix. Then I started fostering to give him some company. Now I can’t imagine life without a dog. I think that when the time comes and I think Milo doesn’t have so much time left, I’ll get a 2nd dog then so I don’t have to deal with your dilemma and it won’t seem like I’m replacing him. In the meantime, I’ll keep fostering to give him a companion.

  2. I lost my beloved Holly August 1st, two days before her 15th birthday. In my heart she will never be replaced, and I still grieve for her, BUT, I live alone and there are so many precious “babies” out there who need homes, that I decided not to wait to adopt another. I had to spend three weeks in the hospital and medical rehab ( for a hip replacement) so I haven’t been able to care properly for another puppy until now, so for that reason I have been without a loving companion until now. I am adopting a 10-month old little girl who will be delivered to me this weekend. I still miss my Holly, but with the new one here to keep me company, it’ll be a little easier to live without her. Losing a beloved pet is always hard, and my heart goes out to you for losing Cody. I hope Chester fills your hearts with much-needed joy.

  3. It’s never to soon to bring another pet into your life. We can never replace the pets we lose but we can fill that empty spot in our heart and our home. I am glad you got a new puppy, enjoy…… joyce

  4. I have ideas about what is too soon ~~once, when we were at a shelter picking out our dog (after about a year and a half from the death of a former dog), a woman was there choosing a dog when she had just put her beloved pet to sleep that very morning ~~ but I DO understand that that is a time range for MYSELF alone. For me… I usually have waited about a year to a year and a half. That amount of time takes me from grief…to thinking “Hey! I like the freedom of not having a dog at home.”…to wanting one with everything I am.

    I just got a new rescue dog after a GHASTLY three years since my sweet Brin passed on. Why three years? I knew I would be moving out of state and couldn’t see putting a dog (and myself) through the staging, selling, moving, and setting up a new house phases. Glad I waited – but BOY is this new dog (Louie – the best boxer dog in the world) loved!

  5. I said after all that pain that I wasn’t even sure I wanted another dog in my life, and so much responsibility, but recently I had the chance to foster another bulldog, and I couldn’t be happier, pets are such a blessing and seeing the change from the moment they brought Benson from the pound until today fills my heart with joy. It will never be a replacement of the dog you had, because they will both hold very special places, but I don’t think it’s ever too soon.


    PS He is a cutie, no wonder everyone fell for him

  6. I am visiting from Between Naps on the Front Porch. First of all, I am so very sorry for your loss. I too struggled with the loss of a very dear friend(my cat Max), and it took over a year before I was ready to share my heart with another. I finally did, but this time with a puppy. (Bentley) I’m so glad I made that choice-and I’m happy you did too. Chester is adorable! No, he won’t ever replace your sweet Cody, but he will help you heal. Your post was very touching, and a wonderful reminder of how precious and dear our pets are in our lives! Thank you for sharing! Blessings.

  7. I love your story of handsome Chester and Cody. We have chosen NOT to replace our Coco (2006), and my husband still pines for a dog. I, on the other hand, know how picky my husband is and he was not in my life when I trained my little pup, so I hold fast with my decision. What I will wholeheartedly agree on is the fact that our little dog introduced us to the entire neighborhood, and got us outdoors for extended walks, both of which we still benefit from eight years later.

    Kudos to you for opening your home and heart to grooming this little one. Best wishes!
    Rita C at Panoply
    ps I am visiting from the Dedicated House link party. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Last summer we lost our 14 year old mutt and we felt so lost. Our morning walks on the beach continued, but something was missing. We lasted 3 weeks before getting a black Goldendoodle. I laughed when you mentioned all Cody’s bad habits because Lulu has the same bad habits. But, we love her dearly and she loves us. Like Cody, Lulu loves everyone and assumes that each person on the beach is out there for the sole purpose of loving her.

    Enjoy Chester!

  9. As read this post, today is my Cashew’s 12th birthday. I always think about this decision and wonder what will happen. She’s in really good shape and health for being 12, but I hate that she’s this old. ๐Ÿ™ LOL

    This is a great post…enjoy your new buddy!

    Thanks for joining the Link Up this week!

  10. Joan you never replace a pet, you just share the love you had for the one you lost with the pet you found. I found that the best way to honor a pet is to love another one and share your home and family with them. We lost two within six months and I told my husband no more. That lasted until I saw a puppy. We “rescued” two pit bulls because no one wanted them but truthfully they rescued us. I truly feel a home is not a home unless there is a pet inside those walls. Just know every time you love on Chester, you will be sharing the love you had for Cody. Incidentally I am new to your blog. I knew I wanted to be a follower of your blog when I read how much you loved your Cody. Please give Chester a hug from me.

  11. Pets are never replaced, but they stretch our hearts to love others. They add so much to our lives. By the same token we add to theirs. I do not think I can ever be without a dog again.

  12. I’m visiting from BNOTP too. The only thing wrong with dogs is that they don’t live long enough. We’ve acquired a new furry family member after two weeks in one case and after five months in another. I feel the universe provided them at the perfect time and place for us and it sounds like Chester was heaven-sent too.

    I love doggy classes with my Kharma dog–I’ve learned SO much. I am always finding a new one to take and love my time with my girl. Enjoy your lovely puppy!

  13. He is adorable …when my sister’s beloved dog of 12 years died, she swore no replacement for a long long time. They lasted about two weeks before they were at the Humane Society …the latest was not a replacement…just a pup needing a loving home. Dog people need dogs ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Hi Joan, I’m visiting from CLH and I have to say I loved this post! I’m a tried and true dog lover,so I can fully understand your feelings. Right now, we don’t have a dog, but I definitely feel a piece of my heart is missing. It’s not the right time, but it will be someday.

    I don’t think we ever can replace a dog, any more than we can replace a loved one, whether that person is our spouse, a friend, sibling, whoever. There is never a right or wrong time to get another pet, and to think otherwise is simply wrong. You did the right thing for you and your family, and Cody is up in doggy heaven smiling at your newfound happiness with Chester, who, btw, is absolutely precious!!

  15. We have had pets for the past 25 yrs & never been without one because we always have more than one. Most of our pets have just happened, a stray dropped, a little boy wanting one for 10 yrs, ect. We’ve had to choose to end the life of three of our dogs in all of those yrs – the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever done.

    We just entered the empty nest. We have two dogs now, an indoor black lab that is 12 yrs old & an outdoor mutt/lab/retriever mix that’s 2 yrs old. Over the past year we kept our daughter-in-laws Yorkie. Never having had a lap dog before we became so attached to her that when she had to leave it was as bad as losing a pet to death. We missed her terribly. So even before she left we began looking for another lap dog of our own. It took us three months to find what we wanted but we would have taken her the 1st week if we had found her then.

    So, we have always immediately started looking for a new pet to love. As our dogs age, we begin looking for a puppy before they die, for companionship for our old dog & something to comfort us when the old dog dies. The old dog has always been a good teacher to the new kid coming in as well. It is hard because we have to protect the aging dog at times from the energy of a baby but always, within 6 months the old & young become fast friends.

  16. […] Chester theLabradoodle pup is forever by my side! […]

  17. I waited less than two weeks to get another cat after my beloved 17-year-old cat, Twister, got sick with cancer and I decided to have her put to sleep. I live alone and hated coming home to an empty house. Twister used to greet me every evening when I got home from work by sharpening her nails and then just looking pleased lol. I had her cremated and have her ashes in an urn shaped like a black cat.

    The new cat, Marnie, is much younger (3 years old, the shelter thought), and a lot more active… quite silly and wild, too. She’s also very affectionate and friendly. And when I first brought her home, she came out of the crate with her tail up and proceeded to explore with none of the wariness typical of cats. I still think about Twister every day (she was perfect for me), and Marnie is definitely not a replacement… just a welcomed new presence.

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