How soon is too soon to get a new dog after the death of a beloved companion? There’s no one right answer to that question, of course. BioStar’s Rick Moore can tell you plenty about his own recent walk on this emotional path and the insights he’s found along the way.
It’s been difficult. Some would say more difficult than it need be, although not all the moments have been sad. I thought it might be easier to leave his food bowl where it’s always been and his lounging bed in the living room. I guess it makes the loss seem less permanent to do these things. That’s not stopped me from missing him. Lazarus was too key of a factor in my daily life.
But in some ways that daily life has been simpler, as I knew would be the case. Animals in need of extra nursing and extended care can wear out the caretaker, which is why I decided to wait until the New Year before finding a new dog. I wanted the ease of traveling and holiday celebration without worrying about a new animal. I wanted more than a few weeks for us to learn about each other before staying with family and processing the sounds and smells of the holidays. So I repeated to everyone, “I’m waiting until after the New Year to find a new dog.”
Still, people sent me pictures of new prospects. Others I found myself. One Saturday I ran into Bella & Aurora: two boxers in need of a home, with the shelter rep telling me Aurora must really like me because she’s never that friendly to people she hasn’t met before. My heart melted, but it wasn’t yet 2015. Besides, I was only going to get one dog.
Tigger wants that animal spirit back in my life sooner rather than later, so she regularly sends me links to shelter dogs. Brinnel, Hatton, Rosie — too young, too pretty, too active. I want a senior dog. One that will be otherwise overlooked, who would rather nap than hike. The day I’m to submit this story, I receive four new links from Tigger: Dasha, Gale, Joelle and Dexter. Each of these dogs has some special trait I’ve mentioned being important to me, and missing another trait that’s just as important. I feel like I’m participating in a season of The Bachelor, with all these amazing animals in need of a home being put in front of me for selection, and I’m just too snooty to choose one. I’m not feeling like a good person at the moment.
While looking, I found Floyd. Floyd tugged at my heart like no other, probably because he looked like Lazarus’ brother — same colors, same stance, but with two good eyes. Still, this was in October. I repeated my chant of waiting for the New Year, but I kept my eyes on Floyd. I showed his picture to friends and family: “Check out this dog! Doesn’t he look just like Lazarus?”
I regularly checked to see if he was still in the shelter. He was. As the New Year approached, I decided to go meet Floyd. On a Sunday afternoon I googled the shelter’s location only to find they weren’t open to visitors on Sundays. A few days later Floyd was transferred to a city shelter in the hope of meeting more visitors, giving him a greater chance of being adopted. He has been. My loss.
I was led to Romeo, a dog in need of special care after having his ears damaged. I was ready! I wanted to do this! But Romeo is in New York where he has closer folks with interest. I found Geneva at the shelter just a couple miles away. She seemed nice and I wanted to know more, but I’d stopped by just minutes before the shelter closed to the public. I went to the website the next day but couldn’t find her listing. Without an animal ID# the volunteer who answered my phone call couldn’t tell me anything. When she put me on hold to get someone else, I got cut off. When I called back I got the voice mail.
It’s difficult. My heart wants to bring Lazarus back but my brain knows that’s not possible. And it’s not fair to my next dog. I know I’m soon to get a new dog, and I know I’ll find a senior dog who wants to nap. But we’ll need to build our own relationship, create our own routines, learn each other’s habits. I’ll have the pleasure of walking this dog around my property, full of sights and smells. A warm bed inside, a comfortable place to hang out, living Volume Two of my stories. I’ll keep you informed.
The New Year is here. I think I’m going to check into Joelle a bit more.