When Harry died last July, I was crushed. He was family - first as my surrogate child, always my best buddy and later my wise elder. I still cry sometimes when I think how much I miss him. Like right now.
Harry never liked other dogs. He much preferred the company of people. We could have never gotten another dog when Harry was alive because he would have seen it as a betrayal. Once when he was spending a summer with some friends, they got a puppy the last few days of his visit. He was so miffed that he ignored them and the puppy as best he could. He wouldn't even let them say goodbye to him. But really, they got the puppy because of him. He was such a cool fun guy that he inspired people to love dogs. Despite his doggy antisocial tendencies, he was the canine world's greatest ambassador.
But now that Mr. H is gone, I don't think he'd mind if we got another dog. Really, it would be a testament to him - he was my first dog and it was such a great experience that I always want to have a dog. Yarn Widower argues that having a dog limits our freedom (no spontaneous trips to Rome) and need he remind me how hard it was in the end when Harry was sick (I remember). But then we have never taken a spontaneous trip to Rome and illness and heartache are an inevitable part of being alive. But most importantly, it was all worth it. The benefits of having Harry far outweighed all the days of scooping poop, the rainy day walks, the money shelled out to dogsitters when we went away... The only thing that was really difficult is missing him so goddamn much. I think that's the real thing that holds most people back - knowing that in 10-15 years, you'll have to mourn the loss again. The high price of loving someone is having to lose them.
Life without love is really no life at all. For me, life without a dog is just simply less of a life.