It’s time. The crate has been empty long enough. The leash has hung limp long enough.
We’re ready for a new dog to come home to us.
Last summer and fall, when the grief over losing Kaylah was overshadowed by my surgeries and recovery, it was inconceivable that we’d fill that space with a new dog. I wanted to clock the people who suggested the best way to get over the loss of dog was to get another, pronto.
Um, no. Not for me, at least.
But now? Now is different.
Now I look at pictures of Kaylah and feel the love and joy she brought into our lives. I remember the quirks and the affection and the companionship. And I want that again.
No dog can replace the one that was. There will always be a Kaylah-shaped place in my heart. That will never change, and it will not affect the place a new dog can occupy in our home or in our hearts.
Because the heart expands.
The heart has an unlimited capacity to love, to open to more love, to different love, to same love.
Many times, I heard my Nana tell a story about finding herself pregnant for the second time. My mother, Annabelle, was Nana’s first-born, and doted on by Nana and her sisters in war-torn London, 1942. Pop was a Canadian serviceman with the Royal Air Force, posted away to the North Sea.
Nana went to her mother, dismayed. “How will I ever love another child as much as I love Annabelle?”
“You will, my dear,” promised her mother. “Each child brings their own love. The heart expands to hold it all.”
I’ve held this story close to my heart my whole life. I wanted a whole passel of kids. Or at least two. It just didn’t work out that way. But I knew, as well as I could know anything, that I would love another child as much as I loved Kristina. Still, I completely understood my Nana’s concern – how could a heart hold MORE than that much love?
Even though I know children and dogs are different – I do understand this – I think the concept translates.
Our hearts are ready for a new dog.
We went on our tropical holiday this month, and our extended road trip last fall. Now, it may be a while before Ed and I travel together, while we settle a new dog into our home.
Part of what made Kaylah so awesome was who she was. And part of it was the consistent, compassionate training she had from the beginning. We want our next dog to have that good start as well.
We’re ready. You hear that, universe?
Photo story: Walking in the woods today, I was taken by the light coming through the new spring leaves. I pulled out my cellphone for a snap. The first, perfectly in focus, didn’t capture the dreamy quality of the light. Taking another, before the focus sharpened, was much closer. I’ll walk a dog here again. Dreams come true.