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john65pennington's avatar

Why do I keep comparing my new puppy to my deceased border collie?

Asked by john65pennington (29163points) October 25th, 2011

Since Mikey died, I felt like a new puppy would help to heal wounds that both of us are suffering. The new puppy is a yellow Lab. I keep forgetting she is a puppy and does not know commands, yet. I find myself calling her Mikey, instead of her real name Maggie. Question: does everyone that loses a pet dog, go through this same ordeal? How long does it take for the pains to go away and will Maggie ever be the dog that Mikey was?

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14 Answers

Judi's avatar

Loss is like that. I think I accidentally called my current husband Lenny (my deceased husband’s name) a few times when were were first together. It’s natural and will slow down as you learn to appreciate your new puppy’s unique personality.

Ayesha's avatar

You need time to heal. I’m very sorry to hear about Mickey. Give yourself time, Maggie will turn out amazing. You just wait and see :)

Coloma's avatar

Yes, it’s natural, but, unfair, to compare.

Just like us, animals are ever changing and you have a lifetime of new discoveries with this new girl.

It takes a good 6 months or so to really bond with a new pet and start your own new and incomparable relationship.

The new puppy will blossom into her own set of endearing and unique and quirky behaviors as time unfolds. Just try to see her for what she is, a unique individual of her own.

I have had my new cat for a year and a half and it has really only been in the last 6 months that I have come to relaize I can’t imagine not having her now and she is still surprising me with her quirky behaviors and ever changing behaviors.

We have “our” rituals and routines now and she is fully wormed her way into my heart. :-)

Hibernate's avatar

Yes. You were really attached to the old dog. I did the same for a few years when I lost my first cats. I was lucky to have smart cats that knew I was talking to them even if I used different names. They did not like it at first but understood I wasn’t doing it on purpose.

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t know. I really understand the issues though. I have had cats my whole life, the last two, for about twenty years. I loved them so much but every time I thought about adopting new cats I just kept think that the only real problem with any of the kittens or cats was that they simply weren’t Bugsy and Caspar. I ended up getting a dog! My first one, just because I felt like I would always be comparing any new cats to my little guys. Puppies are hard to deal with I’m learning but I think it will just take time to get to know your new dog and what it is that make “her” special. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It will just take time. How long? No way to say.

marinelife's avatar

Let Maggie show you the love, and she will win you over.

john65pennington's avatar

marinelife, thank you so much for your answer. It put us in a different perspective with Maggie. She is very loving and wants to be loved as well as give her love. Do you think Mikey sent her our way? Just wondering.

lonelydragon's avatar

It’s only natural to compare at first. Mikey was part of your life for a very long time, and you’re still reeling from the loss. Once you get to know Maggie better, you will find it happens less and less.

Kardamom's avatar

I don’t think it’s like you are consciously comparing the new pup with Mikey. You had Mikey for a long, long time and loved him very much. Your lives together were a day to day habit with all sorts of rituals and expectations, so it’s very difficult to get out of the habit of accidentally calling the new pup Mikey, and forgetting that she’s not yet trained. Don’t beat yourself up about that.

Eventually, you’ll start calling the new pup by her name, everytime. And eventually you’ll get into a new routine and habits with the new pup. And eventually, you’ll be able to think about Mikey with happy memories and fondness, rather than with a sense of sadness and loss. It does take time, sometimes a lot of time. But the fact that you have a new pup will make it easier to move forward.

One thing that might help, is to put a photo of the new pup (with her name under it) on your fridge. That way, you’ll see that photo everyday and associate her with the new name.

But even if you keep slipping and calling her Mikey, don’t worry, she won’t mind at all. : )

TheIntern55's avatar

I had the same dog from the day I was born until just a year ago. He was 18 when we had to put him down. I have a new dog now, but I have only ever remembered having an old, slow dog and a new puppy is sorta terrifying for me. I still call him my old dog’s name too, but not as often as when I first got him.
It will pass. Don’t worry.

john65pennington's avatar

Lonelydragon, thanks. I truly hope your answer comes true. I did not realize how much I was attached to Mikey, until I retired. In the last two years, we have become really close. Teaching an old dog new tricks is possible. No one person should be this close to a dog, well, maybe.

marinelife's avatar

@john65pennington I wouldn’t doubt it. When we lost our whippet, we had said that we would wait a while for a dog, but through a series of odd circumstances, we ended up with Mackie, our current dog who is now 11. He is the most loving dog we ever had. He did not replace Biscuit, but he filled the hole in our hearts.

blueiiznh's avatar

Yep. It took me awhile to get a new puppy after 13 awesome years with my Akita.
Even after taking puppy training classes and retraining myself, I still call out the wwrong name.
I still hear little his tone in things around the house. I open the door after work and still…...oh jeeeze I need a tissue
It takes time, hold onto the great memories and make more with your new puppy.

Sunny2's avatar

No, Maggie will never be the dog that Mikey was. Maggie will be who she is and part of the joy of a puppy is getting to know her. You’ll be responsible for who she becomes too, training her and showing her you care about her. Labs are very loving and companionable, and great outdoors.

Do you have kids? Did the second one take the place of the first? I don’t think so. It won’t be the same. It will be different and it will be good!

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