I know a lot of people around here have lost many dogs over the years.  Luna was my first dog as an adult and DH's first dog.  We weren't sure how it would go getting a new dog.  Would she be a good dog?Would we love her as much?  So many doubts - but lots of hope that she would fill the void in our lives caused by Luna's passing.

As the holidays near, Riley grows and our new baby is due in a few short weeks... the loss of our beautiful Luna is on my mind.  

Luna came home about a month after we moved into our first home, she was there for the birth of our daughter and was always such a sweet, gentle soul (barring the "land shark" puppy phase of course lol). She left us way earlier than we expected, right as I found out I was pregnant with our second child.  It has been hard knowing that she won't be there with her gentle ways as our new baby comes home.  We also just moved into a brand new house and we are sad that she didn't get to live in our big new house.

After getting Riley I quickly realized she is a very different dog - but what surprised me about it is how familiar things still felt.  It's hard to describe but it's like the "dog"-ness is the same.  The goofy ways, the quizzical looks, the affection, the companionship, it's packaged up very differently in Riley but the essence of "dog" is there.

I am already madly in love with Riley.  The love doesn't run as deep as it did with Luna but it will grow with time.  Loving Riley comes with guilt - guilt that I am loving Riley so much...  I don't know why I feel guilty about it but I do.  DH and I talked about it the other day - how we love Riley but it's just not the same.  It will never be the same; Luna was and will forever be our first dog together and she was amazing.  

I've come to the conclusion that it's ok to love a new dog as much as a previous dog - it's like having more than one child... you love them as much but it's a different love - a new love that needs time to grow and find its place in your heart.

What are your thoughts about getting new dogs and your new relationship with them?

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  • I strongly identify with so much of what you've said here.

    Jackdoodle was not my first dog, but he was my heart dog. The love I had for him was deeper than the love I've felt for all of my dogs, and the bond between us was much stronger. The way I felt about him was more the way I felt for my kids and my grandson than the way I felt about my previous dogs. He was my soulmate, my partner. When he died, I felt like half of me was missing. And the way he died was so much more painful and traumatic than the ways my other dogs did. It was a year ago last month that I lost him, and the anniversary has triggered renewed grief and feelings of guilt and sadness. 

    I knew before I got him that I wasn't going to feel the same way about Jasper that I felt about Jack. I also knew how unfair it would be to compare any dog to my perfect Jackdoodle, and I vowed not to do it. My daughter and I talked about this in advance. We love dogs, period, this new puppy is a dog, and we will love him. And we do. But it's a very different kind of love, so different that surprisingly, I don't feel guilty about it.  Jack still holds a place in my heart that nobody else ever will. :)

    • Karen, We had one "heart dog" that will remain unique in our experience. We love all of our dogs but this one was someone completely in tune with our family. He understood English when spoken in paragraphs, and he understood no words just as well. He was remarkable. It was such a privilege to be with him for 10 short years. 

    • I think Luna was a heart dog for sure.  There was just something about her that was so loving and she was always so gentle and sweet.  She was also present without being pushy, affectionate but not "in your face" and just generally well-behaved, even early on as a puppy.

      Riley is great but she's a bit more of a bruiser - a goofy muppet with crazy antics and a very mischievous personality.  She's definitely very affectionate too but not in the same gentle way as Luna was.

  • We have had this struggle. We lost our 10 year old lab late summer. He was our first fur baby as a couple. It was so hard and still is. We were told about our Stella in September but neither of us were ready. One for the commitment , two to open our hearts again. Around the first of November my daughters teacher from last year reached out again about her as I had been watching her pics on facebook and they so reminded me of our Bo when he was little. My husband and I decided then maybe it was meant to be and to go ahead and get her for the fact we have two kids who miss Bo terribly. We wanted another to raise up with the kids like him. We love her and I know it will eventually be a love like Bo's but it'll always be different. After all he made me a fur mom. 

    • Yeah I think Luna as our first dog will always hold a very special place in our hearts.  Every dog we have after will be compared to her and Luna came at a very important time in our lives.  

      Our daughter is definitely happy to have another dog and she's said "someday Riley will be nice and gentle like Luna".  :)  I certainly hope so!

  • This also sounds very familiar to me.  A few years back my husband passed away and I decided to retire.  It was a stressful and heartbroken year.  I hadn't had a dog since I was a child.  We traveled a lot and didn't think it would be fair to leave a dog.  I went to the local shelter and found Lucky.  He was half cocker and half dachshund.  He looked like a short-legged black lab.

    I think Lucky saved me.  He was my faithful companion, and I slowly healed.  My gosh, I loved that dog!!!  But I only had him for over 2 years.  He died suddenly with no explanation.  I got Zoey 6 months later and wondered if I was rushing things.  I love her completely, but yes it is different.  I still have Lucky's picture framed and sitting at my bedside.  I still tear up sometimes thinking of him.

    I try to remember that the pain of losing them is terrible, but the great joy of having them in our lives matters most..

    • Some people said that we were too quick in getting another dog... but our hearts needed a new love :)  She has filled a lot of the void that Luna's loss left in our lives.

  • You are absolutely right.  The human heart has room for love for lots and lots of love.  Each added love makes us healthier, happier, and a better person. 

    • I like the advice a lot of moms seem to give about adding another child to the family - you aren't spreading the love you already have between more kids, your love grows :)  I'd like to think it's the same for getting a new dog.  New love, doesn't replace the love you had for the old dog.

  • As my children (who are grown and live in their own homes) are always vying as to who is the favorite child (a family joke because we always privately told each one that he/she was our favorite :-} ) our dogs both past and present vie to be our favorite child, errrrrrr dog.   I think, for me, my childhood dog will always be my heart dog.  She was actually my dog and shared everything from naps to baths with me (and yes I kept her brushed, cleaned poo, and fed her).  I asked my hubby if he had a heart dog from any dogs he has ever owned. He feels it was Simon, our lab mix. Simon was such a gentle leader, he trained himself, he trained all other dogs we had while he was alive, and he kept them under any control that was needed.  I always feel that I could have been a better dog owner and showed more love to those dogs that have passed on.

    But in truth, each of our dogs is so special and loved dog for one or more attributes that is uniquely him or her. 

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