Our home was much too quiet a few weeks ago. It was the empty kind of quiet resulting from the absence of a loved one. In this case, our beloved dog, Luci. This sweet soul had been with us for ten years, and went from being her normal perky self to unresponsive within three days. Her vet suspected a brain tumor. We were profoundly saddened, but grateful that she didn’t suffer long.
In the following days, I realized how much of Luci was in my cell memory. At certain times of the day I “expected” to hear nails clicking on the floor, or a whimper at the back door, or the ka-thunk of her plopping down for a nap. I missed petting her and kissing her snout and going for long walks. I missed her long dark-chocolate coat and expressive brown eyes. As my neighbor said later, “Luci was such a Light.”
I start my writing sessions each day with a bit of free-writing. Here is what I wrote a few days after:
Grief is a necessary weight, equal to the weight of love we feel for a loved one. If grief was any lighter, perhaps it would slip off before we plumbed the depths of our emotions, making room for greater healing; a greater “before” and “after.” Today I feel that weight: a 30 lb. weight on my chest in the form of our beloved Luci. One of these days, the weight will be replaced with the lightness of memory. For now, I embrace the weight as a testament to my love for my best canine friend.
Such were my feelings that I figured it would be several months before I was ready to get another dog. At 10 days I was thinking maybe a few weeks. At two weeks, I want another dog! hit me like a ton of bricks. Seriously, I went from Not Ready to SO Ready within seconds. The empty place in my chest filled with a big ball of emotion and love, and I felt happy and light-hearted.
As it happens, my (wise) husband had been doing puppy research, and found a dandy agency (Wright Way Rescue) in Chicago that serves rescued dogs and puppies from rural areas. We’d already zeroed in on one of the puppies on their website, so things progressed fairly quickly.
A week later we met/adopted our little “Wookie.” Her mother had been rescued from a rest stop in South Dakota a few months ago by a truck driver who witnessed her being pushed out of a car. She was so skinny that he had no idea she was pregnant. She ended up in the rescue program and was fostered with a wonderful family in Indiana for several weeks until the puppies were born and old enough to be adopted.
And here’s a happy ending: Now that all nine puppies have been adopted, the mother will be adopted by the truck driver. (I still get teary thinking about that!)
It’s wonderful having doggie energy in the house again. The too-quiet has been replaced with a scampering, romping, chewing sweetie-pie, Wookie (aka, The Wookster, Wookie-Woo, Miss Woo, Wookity-Woo…) Yeah…we’re smitten.
Rescued love. Rescued hearts.