After a loss, new pets are part of the way forward - Albuquerque Journal

After a loss, new pets are part of the way forward

Last in a series.

Inviting a pet into your life carries risk. They love us completely and they’ll never leave but their lives end. The grief can send you down a dark hole. It can be hard to find the support you need. Friends and even family might wonder, some of them aloud, “Hey, it’s just an animal. Get over it.” We can’t change them. They’ve never felt that connection. But there are those who do get it.

After her beloved cat Poupon died Cheryl wished she had talked to people who understood about pet loss, rather than keeping her pain to herself. She avoided sharing a lot of it with her husband, Michael, because he was in pain, too. That’s when she started helping others who had written to her. It helped her to know she wasn’t alone.

A year after their cat’s passing they buried some of his ashes. Two years later they started talking about adoption. Poupon’s personality had fit their lives like a glove. He’d been perfect for them. Cheryl and Michael would keep his memory alive and, of course, they knew they’d never find anybody just like him. They’d have to choose their next kitten carefully. Love at first sight is a crapshoot – not the best strategy for picking a life partner. There is a better way.

I’ve made videos, posted on YouTube, called “Choosing the Greatest Kitten for Your Life” and “Choosing the Greatest Puppy for Your Life.” The methods I demonstrate are based on research, intended to help people find the pet who can become the best friend possible. Still, there are no guarantees.

I explained how adopting littermates can work well for everybody. Michael wanted only one kitten; Cheryl had her heart set on two. A good husband knows how to compromise. And so they adopted Wednesday and Pubert, into their forever home.

Cheryl Richardson is a bestselling author, speaker and teacher on the subject of self-care. Purchase her new audio book called “How to Survive the Loss of a Pet” on her website, cherylrichardson.com/books.

⋄ For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website, drjeffnichol.com.


Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in person and in groups by Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com Post pet questions on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by mail 4000 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, N.M., NM 87109.

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