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Old 12-28-2012, 03:52 PM
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Having trouble bonding

I guess I should give a little bit of back story for this post before asking for suggestions. Then you'll know where I'm coming from.

In May of this year, I very abruptly lost my heart and soul, my heart dog, Jake, to cancer at age 7. He was found to have a large lump on the top of his head, which seemed to appear overnight, in March. After testing for other things, and not responding to various treatments, an aspirate of the area was taken and sent out for histology. It came back as sarcoma. This was the end of April and from there he went downhill very quickly and we had to put him to sleep on May 19th, two days after his 7th birthday. My husband took the news very hard, as did my MIL, which forced me to be the strong one through this whole thing even though I was completely heartbroken and devastated. An extremely hard task for me, since Jake was my baby. My son. He was a 1st wedding anniversary gift to me from my husband, and in my eyes, was the absolute perfect golden. I am sobbing as I write this, if that gives any indication to my attachment to him. I still cannot go a day without shedding some tears over him.

My husband, quickly, wanted another dog. I really just wanted to cope with my loss and take things slow, but I gave in. We got Brooks in July. I am having a really difficult time bonding with him. He follows me around and it appears that he has decided that he, like Jake, will be my boy, but I don't have strong feelings about him yet. He's sweet, and I love him, but I don't 'feel' for him yet. Does that make sense? My husband adores him, but I feel myself holding back and I can't seem to let go. Has anyone else dealt with this? How did you cope? I don't know what to do to get to 'that point' with Brooks. I also don't feel as though I have as much patience with him as I did with Jake, and that's not really fair to Brooks. I am going to put Brooks and I in an obedience class, which I'm hoping will help, but the classes in our area don't start back up until early spring because of the weather (most are outdoors).

Any suggestions would be welcome.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:04 PM
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Aawh, I am so sorry for your loss. I think what you are feeling is totally normal. It is so hard losing our babies, it is hard to open up again. I think that getting involved in an activity, particularly one that you and Jake didn't do together, might be just the ticket. I think its great that you signed up for Obedience Classes. How about after that going for the CGC/TDI and becoming a therapy dog team? Or try something like rally obedience or agility? Something that will really make you partners.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:05 PM
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I'm sorry you are going through this, it can be really hard. I dont have any advice but I know the feeling of not being able to bond. Our old dog we had for 3 years and neither DH or I were able to bond with this dog. He just annoyed us. Finally we decided that he deserved to be with someone who liked him. A friend of ours said his mom needed a companion, so she took him. From what I have heard they are doing very well. We recently got a golden puppy and are doing pretty well at bonding with her.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:10 PM
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I am so very sorry about your baby Jake. I think maybe the problem is that you are expecting to love and feel the same way about Brooks, as you did Jake and that is not possible. We love them all in a different way, for their different traits and personalities. Give yourself time to love him and your feelings will grow!!

P.S. I think that some people think if we love or care about another dog, that we didn't love the dog we lost. That is not true and I know that our dogs at the Bridge, would want us to be happy and love, again!!
I'm sure my Smooch and Snobear are caring for Jake!!
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:10 PM
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I'm so sorry for your loss. I think doing a class with Brooks would be a great start! I like the suggestion of doing something new for both of you....maybe agility or rally? It could be a nice bonding experience for you and also help you gain patience with Brooks.

It wasn't the same circumstance, but my husband did not bond with Kira as much as with our other dogs. He said from the beginning he didn't really feel any connection to her. Once he started making an effort to play with her by herself and spend time with her it definitely began to change. She even sleeps on the floor next to his side of the bed now, which he likes. So it can get better
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:12 PM
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I am in a very similar situation. We lost Baxter soon after his second birthday. That dog was my world. We have had our new baby Jaxon for a little over two weeks now. Things are going as I expected, but for some reason I didn't "feel" as you put it for him like I thought I would. A few days ago though that changed. Jaxon is very independent and doesn't seem overly attached to us. He was out of his crate playing and I was so tired (from lots of late night potty trips) that I feel asleep on the couch. I woke up about 30 minutes later immediately in panic mode. I figured he had eaten and pee'd on everything. I sat up to find him curled up as tight as he could be right beside me. For some reason that moment clicked with me and I feel much more attached to him now. I think you too will have your moment. I hope your new baby helps your heart heal as mine has started doing for me.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:24 PM
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Its also worth noting that I felt this way to a certain degree when I got Winston and Riley isn't even gone. I just felt like I was so attached to Riley, as cute and sweet as Winston is I would never feel quite the same way. But now I've been spending lots of one on one time with Winston and doing a lot of training and I am totally in love with him too, albeit in a different way.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:58 PM
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We understand how you feel, most of us have felt the same.

Remember it took 7 years for you to develop the friendship that you had with Jake. In time your bond with Brooks will be just as strong and perhaps even stronger.

In the meantime it is ok to miss Jake, he sounds like a very special boy.
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:07 PM
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I get it also, after i lost spencer, we got spirit 5 months later, he did not look,act like spencer,he was very cute, but even though he was spencers grand nephew, it took a while,to bond, they each are different, and your love for them can be different also.
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:14 PM
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I have felt this way for a couple of my pets, Brady and MacKenzie included.

When we got Brady, I was getting ready to say goodbye to my heartdog of 13 years. I loved Brady, but I remember thinking the same thing you were thinking. Well, loving and bonding take time. We also have to remember that each pet is its own individual, and like with children, you will love each one differently.

Even MacKenzie, I felt that way about her, because I was already bonded with Brady. I was just very happy that my children bonded with her immediately. I can now say I am bonded with MacKenzie too.

My dogs are such a big part of my world and my family's. I cannot imagine life without either one of them. The bonding will come with time.
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