View Full Version : Another cavalier after losing your "heart dog"

31st May 2013, 11:51 PM
After losing our special cavalier, Butters, this past April, my husband and I have started thinking about bringing another cavalier into our family. Butters really was our heart dog, and it has been terribly painful without him. My husband especially has been taking his death very difficultly, as they did everything together and had an incredibly close bond. We have talked about adopting another male cavalier, tentatively in August this year. I worry so much, however, that our next dog will always be in the shadow of what Butters was to us... Butters set the bar pretty high. He had the most incredible mellow temperament, enjoyed cuddling on the couch for hours, never once showed any aggressive behavior, rarely barked, never chewed on furniture, had only a couple of accidents ever in the house, and loved everyone he met.

For forum members who have lost heart dogs: What was your experiences bringing home your next cavalier? What can we do to not place unreasonable expectations on our next little dog, as he will be following in some pretty large footsteps?

1st June 2013, 12:31 AM
This is something I struggled with because Ella was and will always be my "heart" dog. After losing Ella, I was not really thinking about getting another or maybe a puppy after long research that I knew would take time and I wasn't "really" looking.

I went to Atlanta and stayed with a friend that had an older rescue. I will not say it was love at first sight but he bonded to me (now I think it was my stuffed Rupert). Anyway, I feel that if one gets another to fill that void or pain in their heart is how some cope but I don't know if it ever could. It was not what I was seeking with Elton.

No one or dog could ever replace Ella. I admit I did feel guilty. Was I not giving Elton enough love because I'm still can miss Ella. I felt I was cheating on him by sometimes missing her.

I realized what drew me to him. He is so different than her and he makes me laugh. He has quite the personality. He has so much energy and can chase the ball for hours, which is something Ella couldn't do. Ella seemed much older because of her illness and Elton acts like a puppy at 6 1/2. I still cry sometimes for her but I also think of how Elton is special too in his own way.

This is my personal experience and I know others who also lost their heart dog will share also.

Joanie Davison
1st June 2013, 02:07 PM
We waited about 2 1/2 years to get another after we lost our Emma...I had always said, I would not get another female Blenheim, it would remind me too much of her and make my heart hurt. As fate sometimes has it, we rescued our 2 1/2 year old Blenheim boy, Gibbs, this past February. He is so different than she was, but so much the same. We have an 11 year old Tri that this youngster brought new life too. Really 2 are not any more work than 1 and they keep each other company when not at home.

I think the saying is, they take a piece of your heart when they leave, but they also leave a place in your heart that needs to be filled. Best of luck and please keep us posted.

1st June 2013, 04:41 PM
I was already looking for a show dog when my heart dog died, so I feel it was a little easier for me to purchase a cavalier again. But I remember going to a view a litter and wanting nothing to do with the puppies, instead I wanted to take home the momma dog. When I did finally get my puppy it was hard for me to bond with him as he was nothing like my first cavalier but now I can't imagine my life without my boy. He is very different than my first cavalier and I am glad in that I can love what is different instead of always comparing the two.

1st June 2013, 09:36 PM
In 2008, I lost a dog who I loved dearly. He was a big stinky beagle from a rescue fail of mine when I was fostering beagles. Skylar was so sweet and gentle, he was a hunting dog and had never been inside a real house when he came to live with me. He was so shy it took me over a week just to get him to come sit on the back porch with me and longer to get him to willing come inside the house and not just stand by the door to go back out. Every "normal" indoor sound would sent him running to me for comfort, like the TV, the dishwasher and man he never got used to some of the kids noisy toys. Skylar was my shadow followed me everywhere never liked cuddles but always wanted to hear me talk to him. When he died I did have a moment where I felt robbed and maybe loving and losing was NOT worth it. To this day I miss hearing his heavy foot steps behind me. A year or so later I was ready for a new dog....owning just one dog is just not for me, it always felt like something in our family was missing. However, Mr. Monster was just turning 2 years old tho so I decided to wait until he was older. Mr. Monster has always been a VERY active child.

When I got Fletcher I had zero reservations about whether or not I would love him just as much as I had Skylar. I felt it was a honor to my love for Skylar that propelled me to throw my whole heart into another dog. I believe the love I had for him is something he left for me......nobody can take that from me even another "heart dog". And why couldn't I have another "heart dog" either way I was 300% committed to giving Fletcher the best home possible. I think in a way I appreciate Fletcher more because I know he will one day not be with me even the bad things. I never say oh I'll walk him later or I don't feel like brushing his teeth tonight. Now when I hear the much lighter foot steps of Fletcher behind me I smile and wish I could hear 2 dogs following me. My hope is to have many many "heart dogs" each one different leaving me and my family a little something different.

Only you can decide when a new dog or if a new dog is right for you. I can tell you that the lost of your Butters really hit home for me. This could have happened to ANY of us. All dogs like people are different however cavalier traits are wonderful (as you know).

Super Princess
2nd June 2013, 08:36 PM
Oliver was my heart dog. and i was very worried about 'replacing ' him when i set out to adopt another cavalier.
I wanted a tri...those and black and tans are my favorite. but funny thing the breeder i loved...wasnt breeding tris..so i ended up deciding to go with a blenhiem. one of my favorite names was molly...but i knew it was too close to olly which is what we called oliver sometimes. so i opted against that.

when i first announced i was considering getting another cavalier a few warned me that it might be too early..that i was to heart broken over loosing oliver. but i knew it was right for me.
Maggie has filled the huge hole oliver left in my heart and life. she has not replaced him..no one ever could..but she helped heal me. Its funny shes so different from oliver and one of the biggest ways is..shes a cuddler in bed. Oliver...did not cuddle..it hink it got too hot for him? not really sure. but hed often end up at hte end of your bed...or even on the floor.

maggie..if she can get away with it...is sleeping on top of my head. or snugged right into the my back and resting her head on my shoulder.
very snuggly. shes cheeky spitfire rebellous little lady. and i love her. I dont know if you can have two heart dog...but she sure is one.

3rd June 2013, 05:54 AM
Luke is my first cavalier, but my dog before him was my heart dog. He was so bad, but he was so smart. If I asked him to do something, he would do it. He was so fun to train because he was so willing to do whatever I asked, and to try things. He was a dog who most people probably would have gotten rid of. He bit me more times than I want to say, and bit a visitor in our house once. He was okay if he was told you were permitted in the house, I didn't know the guy was there, so I let him just run upstairs. That dog destroyed so many things too (ate the corners of my mattress, tore up the part of my bedroom door among other things). He became aggressive towards men for reasons I really don't know. I couldn't touch a nail clipper if he could hear it or he would attack. Because he was so bad, it was a relief in many ways when he died, yet I'm still in tears writing this, and it was over 4 years ago. People didn't have to call and warn us before they came over so we could tell him it would be okay. I ordered a pizza, because I hadn't been able to for several years. He died too young, indirectly due to the aggression (he grabbed and ate something when locked in another room due to someone coming over who was not comfortable meeting him, and got blocked). I got Luke a few weeks later, and all that time, we did have another dog in the house, but she wasn't mine. I desperately missed having a male.
Luke is so very different than my other boy. Luke is in some ways like the child I am choosing to never have. Luke does what he wants, and if it fits your agenda, that's wonderful. He's can be a real butt to train, in such a way that I think is not typical to cavaliers. If he doesn't want to do what you want to do, he just walks off. If he doesn't like your treats, he won't play your game. I knew before I got Luke I wanted a puppy, and cavaliers were on my short list. I knew I wouldn't be ready to deal with a dog with issues again after dealing with the previous dog's issues. I knew I wanted a fresh, young puppy, with no issues, with traits that would make it good as a therapy dog. Luke does so much more, and I am so happy that I now have a dog that I can try things with.
I've been thinking recently that I will get another puppy before Luke dies if circumstances allow for it. I will have to retire him from flyball before he dies, though I have no idea how much before that will be. I have another dog in training, but because of her issues, my intention is to retire her as soon as she earns her first title (she can do it in her first heat if the team does well). Maybe I'll change my mind if she does well, but right now, I'll be without a racing dog for a while once I have to retire Luke. I've already been considering whether to go to the same breeder, though getting this little athlete was total luck, or to go to one of the breeders who breeds for agility. Nobody breeds cavaliers for flyball, so I'm figuring one bred for agility will work out. Maybe I could try agility with the next one. The boy I had before Luke I could never take competitive because of his aggression, and Luke thought agility was dumb. Luke thought rally was a dumb idea too.

3rd June 2013, 11:11 PM
I lost my heart dog, a beagle whom I grew up with, this past winter. Subsequently, a friend of mine had bred her beagle and now had a litter of squiggly fur balls. Naomi was entering her "teenage phase," and as I've recently moved into a house, I actually have the room for another dog. But my heart would not let me accept one of these pups. She only breeds every few years, so I figure by that time, maybe my heart will be be ready to open up and let another beagle in.

Everyone's experience is different, and I think only you know when you are ready to open your home to a new dog. Only you know if that dog should be the same gender, breed, coat color, etc. of your lost heart dog.

Different is good. If you love the breed, maybe pick a different gender/coat color. Otherwise, explore your options! There are tons of great breeds out there! My parents recently got a collie, and I kept expecting him to be like my childhood collie because of his gender and coat color. The two are completely different in personality, and it was hard for me to change my expectations. I'm sure my parents had to as well, especially because they live with this dog every day and he is a trouble maker compared to our late collie's lassie temperament. Perhaps if they had gotten another breed or different looking dog, it would not have been so difficult for them.