gratitude-a-thon day 2083: Loss, Gain

The other day when I was walking my new puppy, Daisy, we ran into a dog that looked like Riley, the 14-year-old we lost in April. To be specific, we didn’t lose him because he ran away, or we lost track of him on a walk, we lost him to old age and the big bag of ugly tricks it travels with. We lost him in our bedroom, in my arms, with some tenderloin in his mouth.

Anyway, this dog. I practically accosted its owner. Fortunately, she was very nice and understood my shock at the likeness between her dog and Riley. (AND OF COURSE, I HAD TO PULL UP A FEW PICTURES ON MY PHONE AS EVIDENCE.) As it turned out, he was from the same breeder in Minneapolis (!), which really surprised us both, because who even gets a dog in Minneapolis? And he was 10, so maybe he had the same parents as Riley had. The thing was that his eyes were exactly the same as Riley’s and well, I couldn’t hold back from crying because in that moment, as much as I love Daisy, and I am madly in love with Daisy, I just wanted Riley back.

Loss is is tough as leather. It lasts as long as Gone with the Wind and conjures up the kind of feelings that seem like they could actually kill you dead. I have lost my mom and my dad and several cousins and aunts and uncles, and Riley is on the same level as those losses in terms of the sadness factor. You might think that’s silly, or overblown, but then you probably never had a dog.

Daisy is now potty trained! I told my kids I was more proud of this than when I potty trained them, and that’s actually not an exaggeration. My kids were much harder, but Daisy seemed not to understand at all, going out for an hour or two, then coming in and doing her biz on the rugs! Then one day, after careful incentivizing and continual monitoring, it clicked and she hasn’t had even one accident in almost a month. PARADE!

She has an adorable personality, loves every person and dog she meets, is extremely affectionate and learns stuff quickly. She always has pep in her step and never met a stick she didn’t love. She is providing us all the love, antics and laughs we missed. She resembles Riley in no way, and that makes me happy, because there can never be another…..

Grateful that I had Riley. He was my very best friend. We had an unspoken understanding and a love 1,987,088 miles deep. I’ve only had Daisy since July 18, but already, I would kill for her (BUT NOT WITH A GUN, BECAUSE I DON’T BELIEVE IN THOSE). I have been very lucky in the department of dogs. And I am grateful every day for that.

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