“I don’t want another dog,” I reminded my family as I reluctantly trailed behind them toward the doors of the Humane Society. “They need to be fed, bathed, taken to the vet, taken for walks and of course be cleaned up after…and you know who’s going to end up doing that.” I continued with my tirade.
The truth was I didn’t have the heart to strictly forbid my family from finding another pet to love. Our beloved 11-year-old black Lab had died unexpectedly the day after Thanksgiving. We were just barely coming to grips with our loss when our nearly 19-year-old cat died the next week.
The double loss was hard on our entire family, but somehow, I think it was hardest on me. I wouldn’t be so brash as to say that I loved our pets more than anyone else, but I was with them more. They were a constant part of my daily life. Not having my two companions underfoot left me feeling raw and empty. I was having a really hard time dealing with the overwhelming grief.
The rest of my family wanted to fill the void by getting another dog right away. After all, that’s what everyone said to do. Yet everything in me screamed that it was the wrong thing to do. How could we possibly replace our beloved pets like they were interchangeable parts of LEGO™ toys? Besides, I didn’t think that I could endure losing another friend in just a few years time.
Still, for the sake of my family, I found myself at The Pound for the fourth time. If we were going to get another dog, we felt it was important to create a home for an unwanted dog instead of going to a breeder or pet store. Yet it seemed as though we weren’t going to find the perfect fit for our family. (I was the only one who wasn’t upset about that.) One dog chased cats, this one needed a special diet, that one needed extensive training and yet another needed to be the only pet in the house.
Then we spotted a litter of puppies that had just been put up for adoption. Gazing at those sweet faces, I felt a softening in my heart. Maybe … just maybe … I could allow myself to open up to another being. Maybe I could let the open wounds in my heart heal up and allow myself to fall in love again.
Sam has been part of our family for two months now. To be perfectly honest, he’s a big pain in the neck … yet his joyful antics bring a grin to the faces of everyone he comes in contact with. Although he’s still a very young puppy, it seems as though he has been with us forever. As much as I didn’t want another dog, I don’t know what I would do without Sam. He’s always nearby, sprawled at my feet sound asleep or trying to eat my shoes.
Apparently everyone who said to get another dog was right. I don’t view Sam as a replacement. No creature on earth could replace our special pets. Some people may claim that they are just animals…but to us they were a part of the family. I still miss them…I suspect that I will always miss them.
This small puppy, just by his very existence, has taught me that life really does go on. We may suffer what seem to be devastating losses but it’s okay to move on.
And it’s certainly okay to fall in love again…
Courtesy of Susan Ivory. All rights reserved.