The Old Trainer: There is life after loss of pet

November 17, 2012 

My column about Laura of Oakland, who feared no dog could take the place of the beloved dog she lost, generated a lot of mail.

Dear Old Trainer: I lost Ben, the best dog I ever had, and could not bring myself to get another. After months of loneliness I went to the local shelter, but without much hope. I was about to give up when I saw a shy boarder collie mix off by herself. When she saw me and I saw her, something clicked.

Now, Molly is the love of my life, always there, offering me her paw and a lick of the hand, ready for a walk. I will never forget Ben, but I can't imagine life without Molly. So many good dogs need a home, so take heart Laura, and you will be rewarded.

Robert, Merced

A: Robert, it amazes me how dogs can look at a person and know that is the right human for them, and then communicate the feeling to the human. Some may doubt it happens, but you are living proof. So am I and so are millions of others.

Dear Old Trainer: A year ago I was sad as I have ever been after losing Autumn, the little mixed breed who loved me for 15 years. I took your advice and went to the shelter even though I knew I could never replace her. Sure enough, I saw a sad little female who wouldn't take her eyes off me. I tried to forget her, but couldn't, so I went back the next day the minute they opened.

I have had Sage for a year now and my life is full of love again. I still think of Autumn. When I do, I tell Sage how I feel and she climbs up in my lap and loves on me. Tell Laura there is a dog out there for her that needs a home and will love her like Sage loves me.

Renee, Mill Valley

A: Read the next letter to see how things turned out for Laura:

Dear Old Trainer: Thank you so much for your advice. I didn't think it would work, but I was so lonely I tried it. The shelter ladies brought out several dogs they thought I might like and one of them hopped right into my lap and wouldn't leave. He protected me and wouldn't let the other dogs in my lap. Max isn't very big, but he is a big part of my life. It seems like he was waiting for me to come along. I don't know how such a little thing can give so much love.

Laura, Oakland

A: If you lose a dog you love, go to your local shelter and let a dog pick you out. You won't forget your old dog; you will love your new dog and the dog you lost.

NOTE to Miranda with the three Huskies. I tried to answer your question, but cannot get through. Contact me again with an e-mail address that works.

Jack Haskins writes as The Old Trainer. A trainer for more than 30 years, he has rescued, trained, and placed more than 2,000 dogs. Send questions to

Merced Sun-Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service