If your heart is heavy because you have lost your dog through illness, an accident or old age and you are not sure about getting another dog to fill the "void", I,  myself have been there several times before and in every situation.  In reality we all know we cannot replace our special pet and I don't think any of us really try to do that but yet maybe we really long to and then we feel a little bit guilty. I am here to tell you years ago I went a whole two years without a dog in my life after Bess died.                                   
               Bess The Beagle    
      Bess was the most loving little beagle that was the last dog my Dad bought before he got sick and passed away. He had asked me to take her home and raise her. Dad was a small game hunter all his life and we were raised with bird dogs, beagles and coon hounds ~ guess that's where I got my love of dogs ~ as a child I brought home every stray and got bit several times. Dad would sternly say to me "when will you ever learn to leave the dogs alone!"? Guess I never did !
     At any rate, I thought I would NEVER have another dog as SPECIAL as Bess. She was probably two months old when I brought her home and she lived 13 years. When she passed away my oldest daughter, Kelly, cried, .... " I remember the first time I saw Bess, she fit right in Grandpa's hand". 
     And this was true.
     Well the year was 1980 and Kelly has had in her life another precious "best friend"~"Lindsey" a female Rottweiller who was eight years old when she lost her to bone cancer last year. And I still have my "new" best friend ~ Gus~ he is my first lab and is 14 years old. I never thought I would feel this strongly after Bess about another dog. But Gus has been the dog that healed my heart. Consider letting a puppy open the door of your heart that grief has closed........... I can only tell you this is how I relate to losing a special pet. And most importantly, do not ever feel bad or foolish about grieving for your pet, as they truly are a member of the family.
     We can't replace "our friend" but a puppy will and can help heal your heart. This is the lesson I learned after Bess. I will NEVER be without a dog that long again, life is too short to pass up the opportunity to form a bond with another dog that wants to come into our lifes. And what better joy is there in life but to hug a puppy?? ! ! ( I love puppy breath!!)
     Please think about this, and also realize these are only my personal feelings and you need to do what feels right for you.
Take care and God Bless,
 Jean O'Connor

"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."

Roughrider's  Jezebel 
10/25/95 ~11/01/07
   You think dogs will not be in heaven?  I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Amen (Jean)

                             Hat Creeks Handsome Gus
                               11/25/93 ~ 5/14/08

                                                              He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.  You are his life, his love, his leader.  He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.  You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.                (unkown)

Gus was my first lab and what a character he turned out to be as well as a crazed retrieving machine.  Belle came two years later and as talented as he but easier to handle.  I was very fortunate to have two of the best dogs I could ever have imagined.  I joined the Atlanta Retriever Club in the early ninties and served 3 terms as Secretary/Treasurer (six years) Gus earned five Master passes while a two year old and Belle had derby jams, earned Junior Hunter title and had senior passes before retiring to have puppies.  It was then I realized just how much I enjoyed raising the pups and watching their personalities develop.   I spend hours handling and watching them at play. All through my life I have owned dogs.  Dad was a small game hunter and we always had bird dogs, coon hounds, and beagles while I was growing up.  I enjoyed going in the woods before hunting season to "run" the dogs with Dad and watching them work.  Years later I joined a fox hunting club and had a lot of thrills, some I didn't bargain for but to me the best part was not galloping over hill and dale but standing still and listening to the hounds work.  I saw my first fox on my very first hunt  only because my mount became fractious at call of tally ho causing me to pull up and getting left behind.  I joined the Masters wife on a hillside along with their young son and lo and behold here came the little vixen trotting across the meadow with baying hounds and riders thundering out of the woods,  a scene till this day I shall never forget! To this day I am always thankful to be out in the woods on my horse or with my dogs.   I am truly blessed.   I would have to say though my greatest joy is hearing from folks who have my dogs and thank me for giving them the best dog they ever owned.  That is worth more than gold.