Finding the Right Companion
Adopting a new pet after one has transitioned can be tricky, especially when there is a surviving companion grieving the loss. When is it OK? Grieving appears with signs such as loss of appetite, lack of desire to thrive and sleeping more than usual. Just like humans, the animals grieve the loss of a loved one.
In doing this work of animal communication, I have found the pets who stay behind, while in their grief, or even a year or two later, can be very possessive of their owners. Introducing a new pet, without asking them first, can create havoc. There can be jealousy of the new pet or anger at you for bringing in another. How can you replace their dear companion?
Norton is a 15-year-old domestic shorthair orange male cat that was not keen on the new dog joining the family.
Norton: Why did he get the dog? Wasn't I enough? Is he going to replace me? I try to be good. I've been giving him more attention since the dog's been here - why is he so loud? He doesn't let me sleep in peace. I just want to be left alone and he comes and sniffs around me.
Me: The dog needed a good home so dad brought him home - you can share dad can't you?
Norton: I suppose - as long as he doesn't eat my food - I eat all my food so he won't get it.
Me: You don't have to do that - there will always be enough for you - I'll make sure dad puts your dish where the dog can't get to it, OK?
Norton: OK that will help - thanks. Tell dad I love him OK? I don't get to say that to him so he understands.
Bubba, a cat that was depressed as he was missing the daughter (he called "mom") that was away on vacation and he was overhearing conversations of her going away to medical school:
Bubba: Why did mom leave me? I know they love me too - but I miss my mom. Bring mom back or take me to her.
Me: I asked if hearing her voice would help. Sometimes it can help to put the phone on speaker and having the pet hear the voice of the person they are missing.
Bubba: Yes, hearing her voice will help. I like my food. My other moms are nice, but they aren't mom. My house is nice, my bed is nice. I miss my mom. I want my mom.
Bubba: Maybe - but I'm the boss. Maybe a girlfriend? I might like that - I never had a girlfriend before. One that looks like me? I'd like that - yeah that could be fun.
When my client is thinking of bringing in another pet, after the loss of a dear companion, I tune in to the surviving companion for guidance. Have they cleared the grieving process? Is there anger towards the owner for "taking their companion" away? Do they understand the death process? Are they seeing their companion's spirit around them?
Excerpts taken from my books: What Do Your Pets Want You to Know?, More Messages from the Animals, and Lessons from the Animals available on Amazon and Kindle.