The Hypothetical Pup.

As much as we might love our dogs, the unfortunate truth is that many dog years fit into our human years. So, despite our great love and loyalty, it’s inevitable that our love and affections are going to shift onto another dog.

Moreover, just to compound the betrayal, our affections often shift from our elderly battler onto a gorgeous young pup. Not that I’m saying this has any parallels to someone ditching an older model human for a younger, New Improved Version. However, if I was an elderly pet and I saw my parents looking up:”Puppies For Sale”, I’d be feeling devastated, rejected…cast upon a canine scrapheap!

However, that’s all very well from the dog’s perspective. The dog isn’t the one who gets left behind. The dog doesn’t have to endure the empty silence… no paws clattering through the house. The magpies strutting free range through the backyard, without that omnipresent bark to contain them. Worse still, however, is the tears and having to tell the kids that a much loved family member has gone. Passed on. Crossed over the rainbow bridge. Nobody likes to break their little hearts. As parents, we’re always trying to make it better, and the loss of the family pet is devastating for a child. Quite often, they probably don’t even remember a time “before”. The dog has always been there just like Mum and Dad.

Bilbo + Amelia

Bilbo arrived when our 10 year old daughter was only crawling. Put’s things in perspective.

Or, perhaps, Mum or Dad have gone and the dog has been their rock.

I know what our family dog meant to me growing up. How he understood me like no person could. That was, until he ran away and was gone. (His name was Lassie but he obviously hadn’t watched the movie!!)


Lassie…my first dog.

So, you don’t need to be a psychologist to see that anything you could do to minimise this loss, would be prudent. A preventive measure.

Which brings “the overlap” into play. You bring the second dog into the family before the older dog has passed, and dog number 2 seamlessly shifts into the older dog’s paws…especially if they’re the same breed.

It all goes back to that famous philosophy: “If you can’t have the one you love, love the one you’re with” which I’ve also known with this little tail at the end: “and if you can’t love the one you’re with, turn off the light”.

However, like the best laid plans of mice and men, things don’t always go to plan.

Bilbo with ball

Back from near death. Try telling this athlete he’s old!

What happens if the old dog recovers? Gains a second wind? The new dog attaches to the old dog. So now when your elderly family dog passes away, your not only have the grieving kids to consider, but also a grieving pup.

Once again, you’re back in the market for another dog.

How on earth did that happen?

Let’s rewind…

Bilbo & Lady

Bilbo & Lady

Two years ago, Lady, our scruffy black Cavalier x Border Collie joined the family. That said, it took Bilbo a few weeks to join the party and Lady wasn’t too keen on him either. We had a front door dog and a back door dog and the kids thinking we’d made a huge mistake.

Only ever intending to have one dog, it looked like we’d timed the transition pretty well. Then, Bilbo gained a second wind after Lady arrived. She also taught him how to be a dog. Moreover, having Lady in his corner, gave Bilbo much more confidence meeting other dogs down at the beach. He was a new dog and this was a much welcomed miracle!

Meanwhile, it’s clear Lady will never make it as a single dog.

So, the kids have started campaigning. Our daughter has been desperate for a pug for ages. She’s absolutely mad about them but we don’t share her enthusiasm. We could get tempted by another Border Collie but they need a lot of exercise.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping that giving Bilbo loads more vitamins, will mean he’ll outlive us! It’s worth a try.

Are you a dog lover? How have you approached this changing of the guard?

xx Rowena



20 thoughts on “The Hypothetical Pup.

  1. Midwestern Plant Girl

    We just plan to keep ‘overlapping’ them. 😉 Breck and Oreo are 3 years apart. That’s a bit close.. who knows. We just like the idea of having 2 dogs. However that works out.

  2. Rowena Post author

    Sorry, you can’t have a dog. I’m not sure we can financially afford two dogs but emotionally speaking, we couldn’t be without them…especially with my medical condition and needing the kids to have that pet interaction.

  3. Rowena Post author

    My parents never replaced our Lassie dog. Mum felt she couldn’t just replace him straight away and then didn’t want to face losing a dog all over again. Over the last 5 years, they started befriending the neighbour’s cat. He is a really quirky, aloof cat and fitted in really well and they like this non-committal form of pet interaction.
    Do you have any ideas about what type of dog you’re looking for? How exciting! Good luck!
    xx Rowena

  4. Robin

    How wonderful that Bilbo gained a second wind! We just lost a family dog although it was not a dog who lived with us. I thought of Bo as our granddog, and he spent a few weeks during the summers with us while his people (our youngest son and his wife) vacationed where they couldn’t bring him. My youngest son and his wife have been crushed by Bo’s loss, so much sooner than expected (Bo was only 5 or 6 years old, they’re not sure because he was a rescue). I am sad, too, although it’s easier for me since it’s not my house that feels empty without him. They do have another dog, Jake, who found them a year or so ago, and I know Jake misses his buddy Bo.

  5. merrildsmith

    Awww–hope they both live good long lives.
    When our girls were very little we got two kittens, one for each. Our younger daughter’s beloved cat died when she was a senior in high school. A few months later, we went to the shelter to pick out one kitten, but they convinced us that two young ones would be better with our old lady cat. One of the kittens died a short time later from an incurable disease that he must have had when we got him. So we got another kitten soon after. Now our old lady cat is gone, but we still have our two little boy cats–about 7 years old now, but I still think of them as kittens. Unlike the first two cats, these guys are my babies.

  6. Pingback: Fathers’ Day Coffee Share. | beyondtheflow

  7. Rowena Post author

    I didn’t last a week without a dog in the house. Even with the two kids here, it fell empty and silent.
    I always used to get out again after breaks ups too. It’s not so much out of a sense of strength or personal triumph but probably not coping with a perceived void.
    How long ago did Chika pass? I think I missed that. So sorry!
    xx Ro

  8. New Journey

    We had her put down, hardest freaking morning of my life, I felt like I was putting one of my kids down…it was in June…we were trying to keep her out of pain but she had been pacing and looking at me like, make it stop, so I couldn’t do it anymore…I was crying more than not and her arthritic joints were giving out going up and down the steps…I am sitting here with tears running down my cheeks…I really loved her….she was 13…….kat

  9. Rowena Post author

    Sending you bigt fluffy hugs and Bilbo and Lady send their love. It’s just so unfair that dogs don’t live as long as us. I felt a sense of disloyalty getting another one so soon after our Old English Sheepdog passed away but couldn’t live without a dog. Thank goodness it’s much easier to get another dog than a husband. I don’t think I could go through all of that again! xx Ro

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