Ask This Librarian – After a beloved pet dies

One of the questions I was asked is what the recommendation is on getting a new pet after the death of an older, much loved, pet.

My answer:

The short answer – what I found everywhere – is “You’ll know when and if you’re ready.” While quite true, that’s not as helpful in evaluating whether you might be ready (or what else you might like to think about) as it could be, so I went looking for some further resources.

One thorough answer comes from a website focusing on small dogs. They have a page that talks about different choices people made, and how they felt those choices worked for them.’s site for dog owners has some excellent general advice and links to a number of other resources.

My local veterinary school (the University of Minnesota) offers a variety of services to pet owners, including a grief counselling group that is open to all members of the community. They’ve also put together a very useful guide that can be found at the Resources link on the right hand side of this page explaining the veterinary school client support services. That guide includes both some articles specific to grief over a pet’s death, and also a number of other resources – sources for memorial items, information about burial options, and a wide range of other tools and services that might be of interest.

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement also has some good resources.

There are also some excellent resources out there to help a potential new pet owner evaluate what kind of pet is best suited for them in their current life – after all, many things may have changed (in terms of energy, schedule, and other factors) since you last considered a new pet. A few that I found include:

Where I looked:

There are a lot of pet sites out there that have either lots of ads or things like auto-play music, both of which I hate to link to if there are other alternatives. So, while I found the basic information very quickly, it took me a bit longer to find sites with good information that were also easier to read and navigate.

Search terms included:

  • when your dog dies
  • after your dog dies
  • pet loss
  • new dog
  • choosing a new dog
  • new dog quiz
  • Delicious
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Hi, I’m Jen

Librarian, infovore, and general geek, likely to write comments about books, link collections, and other thoughts related to how we find, use, and take joy in information.

I'm the Research Librarian at the Perkins School for the Blind

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