2016 Is Starting With Love


January 5, 2016

While 2014 and 2015 served grief as it’s main course for me, there were moments of utter contentment, pure joy and times when I thought my heart would explode with the amount of love I got to experience.

Through the tears, and there were a lot of tears, there were also moments where I laughed so hard my belly ached, where a dog’s head rested on my knee giving solace, where indescribable beauty of the natural world, left me speechless and a cat’s gentle presence gave more comfort than well meaning human words could.

I had the most wonderful conversations with my dad at his hospital bedside and had the honor of being with him, my hand in his, always his little girl, while he took his last gentle breath.

Likewise, I was there with Pippin and again, with Georgia when the time came to say good bye. As heartbreaking as it was, to see them first fall into a deep sleep and then hear the doctors horrific words confirming they’re gone, I was grateful that there was no drawn out illness or suffering and felt blessed to be there to hold them when the end came. We can give them the peaceful passing that we can’t give to people and I believe we owe it to them, to be there with them when the time comes.

Georgia restored my heart when it had been crushed by the loss of my dog Gretchen. At the time, I hadn’t been sold on adopting another dog but with my cousin Carrie leading the way, on an impulse, I went to “just meet her” at the foster person’s home. I sat on the floor as the woman opened Georgia’s crate. At five months old, Georgia shot, like a bullet, from her crate into my lap and started licking my face. The rest of our story was a long, wonderful, fifteen years together built on mutual respect, trust and unwavering love.

Her death was the hardest on me. It was unexpected and sudden. Death and loss are never easy regardless of age, health or the circumstances. In her last moments, as I held her, I remember thinking “never again”. I will never be able to love another dog because there will never again be a dog quite like her. In my grief, I had forgotten that welcoming home a new dog never replaces a lost love, but instead, helps you heal and teaches you how to love again.

I began browsing PetFinder but of the various dogs I had interest in, none stopped my heart or made it skip a beat. When I found one that I thought might integrate well in my life, something always interfered; either I didn’t hear from the agency, or they weren’t good with cats, or they were already adopted. It just never worked out. Until this little one came along. I saw her profile and fell in love (how could you not, I mean, look at her face). She fit my attraction to the scruffy dog but I hesitated. She’s a puppy. I’m an old lady. So I didn’t submit an application and continued searching. For three days, I kept coming back to her. By the time I submitted an application, I thought for sure she’d have already been adopted. I was wrong. Everything fell into place so easily. As if she had been chosen for me. My application was accepted immediately, my references called quickly and the adoption approved without a hitch. She is staying in foster until she is spayed and will be transported from MS to Rhode Island, where I’ll be able to pick her up on the 16th.

I’ve already decided that her name will be Sophia. She’s 10 weeks old and weighs a mere 5 lbs. Her mom is a Miniature Schnauzer who weighs 15 lbs and was used for breeding until her shitty humans didn’t want her anymore and at the age of eight, they dumped her at a shelter in southern MS with her 5 week old puppies. Friends of Homeless Animals heard about them and immediately swooped in to bring the whole family into foster care. Her dad is a mixed breed of unknown origin. I’ve only ever had big dogs; never a small dog. At least Bonnie and Sasha won’t be too intimidated by her and if she should grow to be bigger than 15lbs, she’ll be doing so along side them so they will be accustomed to her. It should be an interesting journey but 2016 is starting off with love. It feels good to feel this excited again; to have hope and to have the pain of loss be softened ever so slightly.

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