3 months on post dog loss.. The right time?

G’day, friends, and welcome to another week and another post.

If you follow me on socials or even read my blog post called ‘Life Goes On’, you would know that I lost my 12-and-a-half-year-old Border Collie three and a bit weeks out from Christmas last year.

It was sudden, rocking my family and everyone who adored Milly. I didn’t realise just how many lives she had touched, and it was so heartwarming and, at the same time, so heartbreaking to hear everyone’s stories of Mill and how much they loved her. It shouldn’t surprise me, though; she was an incredible dog.

The last few months have been so difficult. Not only had I lost my best pal, but I lost an assistance dog.

My brother’s Mini Dachshund Levi has been so sweet in providing much-needed emotional support and trying his best to pick up where Milly left off in helping me pick things up off the floor… Okay, he has been grabbing anything he can get his paws on and running around the house like a chicken with its head cut off, but he tries, which is the main thing. Not to mention, it’s adorable.

I have struggled without her being by my side and helping me to be as independent as possible around the house. There have been so many times when I have dropped something and, almost instinctively, called out her name before I remembered she wasn’t there.

There have been times when I swear I saw her in the laundry or go outside and think I saw her running around the other side of the house.

The house felt so quiet even with a two-year-old puppy, and even though Levi has provided us with so much comfort and joy, there is a piece missing, and I very much felt like the family wasn’t complete.

I found myself spending more time in my room by myself during the day, either working or binge-watching my favourite tv show at the moment (any Queer as Folk fans?), almost as escapism and deflecting, which is not ideal when trying to deal with your emotions.

Milly was my emotional and physical support too over the last few years with a lot that has been happening navigating my health, among other things, and without her, I haven’t felt all that complete and to be honest, alone.

I said to my mum the other day that she has my dad, my brother has Levi, and I have lost my ‘person’ or I have lost my bonded being, and I desperately need to feel love and feel like something, or someone needs me/ relies on me other than my family.

Grief is strange; it comes and goes in waves, and you have no choice but to deal with the emotions the best you can when the time comes. I feel the saying time heals all wounds isn’t necessarily true. I don’t think grief ever leaves you, but you learn how to continue to live, and the pain becomes a little more bearable, but it never entirely goes away.

So when is the right time to start looking for another dog? Is the time ever right? Do you even consider bringing another dog into the family?

I have asked myself that question every day for the past three months. I always knew I wanted another pup eventually. My life isn’t complete without a four-legged ball of fluff.

a photo of a dog bed with a denim look dog leash on it in the background a car door and window is blurred

I am the kind of person who believes that people or animals that pass on give signs that they are okay, that we will be okay, and that it is time to move forward, whether that be buying a puppy, moving house, starting new relationships, going on adventures, or taking that class you always wanted. Or simply just starting to live again. 

That sign for me came a lot sooner than I thought.

One day, my incredible equine therapy coach, Hayley, gave me fantastic advice and some suggestions for breeders I could follow. There was a Labrador breeder and a Border Collie Breeder.

To my surprise, one of the breeders already had a litter of puppies for sale. I didn’t think anything of it until Wednesday when a photo of a pup from the same breeder appeared on my feed. I saw this cute little fluff ball, and my first reaction was a gasp and then an ‘Awww, adorable!’ I showed my family, and they were all, ‘Nope, she is a black-and-white border collie; we don’t want another black-and-white’.

I felt the same way but couldn’t shake thinking of this puppy. Friday came around, and the same photos came up again. My mum asked me to show her the images again, and she just looked at me and said, ‘What are you going to do?’. I said I can’t. She is black and white, and I don’t think everyone wants another black and white.

However, I kept thinking about her, and on the Saturday, I contacted the breeder to see if she had a chocolate and white female available from the litter. I felt no harm was done; I was reaching out and enquiring. She responded, saying little Miss was the last of the litter, was confident, and had the sweetest temperament.

I spent the next 48 hours talking to my family, blindsided by the news that I was talking to a breeder about the black-and-white fluff ball. I was torn in my decision. A part of me was a yes, and another part of me questioned whether I was ready, given that I was still grieving over Milly.

I kept asking Milly to show me which direction to take. Each time I got more information about this puppy, saying no became harder.

Training a pup while it is still warm is much better than teaching it in mid-winter; she was born in December, particularly on the 29th. Even though it is a different month, my birthday is the 29th. And each time I saw her face, there was something I couldn’t say no to.

So, on Saturday, March, I picked up this cute little fluff: Lexi Luna—my first-ever puppy daughter.

She will never replace Milly. I don’t believe in replacing four-legged companions. But my heart is open to giving love and receiving puppy love. And yes, even though my heart still aches for Milly, Lexi deserves as much love and joy as she will give us so much love and joy.

There is never a right or wrong time to bring a new furry companion home. The timing is individualised, just as grief is a spectrum and particular to you. Some people get a new puppy three weeks after losing their last dog, and others wait three years or never get another dog. And that is okay.

My 10 week old puppy who is a black and white border collie with white legs, white nose and blaze up the face and a black body. she is laying on grass with a pink chew toy next to her, she is looking at the camera.

Introducing Lexi Luna

I know that for some, my going and picking up little Lexi would have come as a surprise and that they may feel three months is too soon. My family brought home Milly about two and a half months after losing our dog Maverick. I know it will take some people time to adjust to Lexi, but even though, at first, her black and white fur broke me many times during the first 48 hours, I think it was what I needed to be able just to let the emotions flow about Milly. Now, I don’t see Milly when I look at her face or coat; I see Lexi.

And even though there are times when, yes, I do get sad, that’s okay. As I said at the start, it’s what grieving does. It’s normal to feel the rise and fall of emotions. You can grieve and give and receive love at the same time. And am I so full of love right now? You bet I am. She has already helped me in so many ways, and I love getting up at 5 in the morning to see her precious face, and it’s only been a week.

As one chapter officially ends, a new one begins in many ways. Lexi is already so full of character; she is loving, trusting, resilient, fun, energetic, and sweet-spirited. I know Milly will be by my side, helping to teach Lexi the ropes of what it is to be an assistance dog and what it means to be an Anderson. And boy, I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us. So, everyone, give a warm welcome to Miss Lexi. 

Till next week,


1 thought on “3 months on post dog loss.. The right time?”

  1. Oh Rhi as a dog lover and all what we can learn from our fur babies. You just go for it. Live , love your time with them and never look back know that your heart is ad big as the ocean when we love our dogs. Enjoy your new adventure with Lexi. I still have my brax at 14 now. I love every moment with him. I can’t walk him any more. So I have my Vada girl 18month old Vada Rottie who has learnt so much of what brax has taught her. I know when I finally say goodbye for ever part of him will be there in Vada. Brax has told her what she is to do with me . All my love Leisa Zeppa.

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