gratitude-a-thon day 2074: dog days of summer

The dog days of summer are coming early around here. In fact, they begin Monday, even though it’s not August yet. Drum roll, please. We’re getting a puppy!

She’s pretty cute, isn’t she? And um, don’t worry, she won’t be wearing a bow!

We said goodbye to our 14 year old Cavachon, best friend, constant companion, and jokester Riley a few months ago, ok to be exact, on April 8. At about 12. While he was on my lap. With tenderloin in his mouth. The trauma of watching him deteriorate from severe dementia, arthritis, and a heart problem was as deeply painful as having Trump in office.

The last six months of his life were like watching water drain from the tub. My husband and I were at odds about how and when his life should end. Which just made everything worse. I cried a lot. And I couldn’t imagine what life would be without this dog. But I did know i loved him so much, I had to let him go, because he was suffering and that felt wholly unacceptable.

The aftermath was grief I can only compare to when my mom died. I was engulfed in a sadness so deep, I could barely climb out of it. I felt entirely broken.

While Riley was getting less and less present, I decided I would never want to go through the pain of losing another dog and was at the end of my fur-ball-loving life. The long goodbye was brutal. The constant worry and heavy sadness I carried around with me like a stack of luggage–the deep anger I felt toward whoever made the decision a dog’s life should end well before their owners, wore me out.

But with the world’s problems mounting up like a Jenga game, I had to reconsider. With the combination of our seriously insane political system, a country divided, climate change upon us, Russia, once again a threat, the horrors of the war in Ukraine, the constant Covid craziness, gun violence, and then the final blow of a terrifying Supreme Court overturning abortion, I knew that I needed to find unadulterated joy wherever I could.

A dog?

Yup. I began slowly poking around to find one. Stopping people on the street to ask about theirs. I still cried at the mention or thought of Riley, but knowing that I could feel the intensity of happy from having that boy as my family and bestie made me realize that I was going to embrace the goodness of another dog, the bond, the tenderness, the all out love.

A note here, yes, I did consider a rescue. And I know many rescue dogs that are amazing, but I had a close personal experience with a very good friend that was horrible and lasted for a considerable amount of time, ending in her having to ultimately give this dog away, because of his aggression, and that made me just too scared to take this route. So, go ahead and judge me as you will……it wasn’t the right thing for me at this moment.

And so, a Cavapoo girl will be joining our fam on Monday. Her current name is Ally, which just so happens to be the name of my daughter! We thought it might be a sign. Of course, we’ll change it. And that debate is on right now!

I’m sure I will cry when we get her and thoughts of Riley will go through me. But I hope he would want me to pass on the love I had for him to another dog. I hope he is running in fields of steak. I hope that he knew how much he was loved, how he changed me for the better and how I will never forget even one day of him. This dog will not be a replacement. She will just be a continuation. Gratitude, big, big gratitude for dogs. To me, they are quite simply one of life’s most perfect parts.

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