Being without a dog for the last few months has been a rollercoaster

Daisy was by my side for nine years and I was completely bereft.

I needed time and the thought of another dog coming into our lives brought with it so many emotions.

It sounds silly but I felt guilty even considering it at first, like I was trying to replace her.

A few days after she died Tommy’s daughter Millie broke down when he tried to comfort her by saying we would have another dog in time and said: “We can never replace her.”

She was right. Daisy was so special. I’m sobbing my eyes out just typing these words.

But after sharing so much happiness with Daisy, I knew we had to have another dog in our lives to love.

We all needed space to come to terms with losing her and we still are grieving. I think we always will and anyone who has lost a dog will understand this.

What it's like adopting another dog when your beloved pet has died.

Daisy, Tommy and I

After a couple of months, we felt ready

We started looking at local shelters, searching online and calling in to see if any suitable dogs were available.

I adopted Daisy from my friend Jane who rescued her from Manchester Dog’s Home in 2008, and I remember her telling me about finding her.

She walked around the kennels and saw Daisy sitting quietly in a corner and fell in love (who wouldn’t) and took her home that day.

I wanted to adopt again, and by no means am I judging anyone who decides to get a puppy.

There are many ethical breeders committed to bringing healthy, happy dogs into people’s lives and they do a wonderful job.

My situation allowed me to adopt - I live with my partner Tommy who has two daughters, Hannah, 11, and Millie, seven, who have experience with dogs from spending time with Daisy.

People with younger children, or other dogs in the home, might want to know a dog’s background so a puppy who they can nurture together is more suitable.

Naively, I thought it would be easy

Understandably the girls were keen - we all were! We considered what we were looking for in our next dog.

As a terrier mum, I was in love with the breed. They have so much character and sparky personalities and keep you on your toes!

According to her BlackDog DNA test, Daisy was a brilliant mix of Parsons Russell, Border Terrier, Jack Russell and Lakeland Terrier.

We searched for a small to medium dog, suitable for children under 12, medium to high energy and ideally under three.

Sadly, many of the shelter dogs weren’t able to live with young children and it was reassuring to see how strict the volunteers were with rehoming.

As Jill from Newcastle Cats and Dogs Home told us: “We want dogs to be with the right families. The last thing we want is for them to come back.”

We experienced this after trying one dog, Pearl, from another shelter who was reactive to other dogs.

If I only had myself to consider I would have adopted her, but I had to think of the girls and it broke my heart admitting we couldn’t give her a home.

As well as visiting shelters, we looked online

We went round shelters in the North East and I went home to stay with my mum in Cheshire and visited centres there and in Liverpool.

You can’t help but want to take all the dogs and every time I left I felt guilty. But after what happened with Pearl I knew I had to be strict.

Tommy and I signed up to loads of Facebook groups and came across Patterdale Terrier - Rehome UK.

It was set up to provide a ‘home from home’ support service to help owners who had made the painstaking decision to rehome their pets.

I posted a photo of Daisy and our story, and the admins suggested dogs to us. A few days later, I saw a black and white dog, Patch.

He was living in Sale, Manchester, just a few miles away from where I used to live in Lymm. His owner had died and he was living with one of her relatives, Paul, who was trying to find the right person to adopt him.

What it's like adopting a dog when you have lost a pet.

Paul's Facebook appeal

What it's like adopting a dog when you have lost a pet.

My post on Facebook

It was love at first sight

I hope this doesn’t sound shallow but it was. On one of the photos on the page, he was stood just like Daisy did and honestly, I felt like I just knew.

Paul’s post said he wanted to find a home in the Manchester area so Patch could still see his brother George who lived with him - he was heartbroken to let him go but his landlord would only allow one dog.

I showed the post to Tommy and he agreed he seemed perfect. I messaged Paul and explained our situation, that we lived outside of Manchester but that I returned regularly to see my mum.

We spoke on the phone the next day. Paul was so lovely - it was the most important interview I have ever done. He wanted to make sure we were right for Patch, and I had my own questions too.

Ultimately l wanted to reassure him we wanted to give Patch a loving, happy home and speaking to him, I realised how devastated he was to give him up.

What it's like adopting a dog when you have lost a pet.

Patch's photo

What it's like adopting a dog when you have lost a pet.

Young Daisy!

We went to visit Patch two days later

Tommy and I were so excited. Patch and his brother George were just adorable - lively, cheeky terriers! I took treats and spent time with them both then took Patch for a walk.

It was hot and he was a little subdued - I think he was missing George - but he was well behaved and friendly with other dogs and people.

He went crazy when he saw George again - even though we’d only been out for 15 minutes. Tommy left and I spoke to Paul and said we really liked him but needed to discuss it.

Paul was so understanding. He said he’d seen my blog (and what a crazy dog lady I was) and having met us he’d be happy for us to adopt him, particularly as Patch could still visit George.

Tommy and I agreed he was ‘The One.’ I returned a week later to see Paul’s family and his sister-in-law Angela who’d watched Patch being born said, ‘You just know when you find the right one don’t you?’

We told the girls about him and they fell in love too

When we took them to meet him their faces lit up. Patch and George jumped all over them then they went to play ball out in the garden.

Tommy and I were on tenterhooks when we asked them if they’d like to adopt him but of course they said yes.

Leaving George and Patch’s home behind was emotional. Paul and his son Olly were so strong but I was in floods of tears and after we left they were too.

Paul never wanted to give up Patch but he says it’s been a comfort knowing that he’s gone to a loving home, and we will stay in touch with him and George.

What it's like adopting a dog when you have lost a pet.

Patch on Alnmouth beach

What it's like adopting a dog when you have lost a pet.

Daisy on the same beach last summer!

Patch is settling in well

We collected him last Monday, August 6th, and he’s made himself at home. It is brilliant to see dog hair all over the sofa, our clothes and the car!

He’s been for lots of walks and enjoys sniffing new smells, exploring his neighbourhood and meeting other dogs, especially chasing three female dogs around the park.

As he’s becoming familiar with us, we’re seeing more of his personality and there is so much of Daisy in him.

He rips up toys and loves cuddling up behind my knees when he sneaks in bed and every morning he has a big stretch then wriggles around on his back with his paws in the air on the sofa or rug like she did!

These things may be terrier traits, but it’s like Daisy’s living on in him. I’ll never forget my gorgeous girl. We feel very lucky to have had her and now Patch.

We're so thankful to everyone who has supported us after losing Daisy, from old friends and family to people we only know online and through social media.

It's opened our eyes to another world filled with kind, generous, crazy pet people and I know this sounds gushing but it really does give you faith in humanity.

I struggled to think the words to end this post then found them on Pinterest.

“Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love. They depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog. It merely expands the heart.”

What it's like adopting a dog when you have lost a pet.
rachel@thepawpost.co.uk

Author rachel@thepawpost.co.uk

More posts by rachel@thepawpost.co.uk

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