Some people find the pain from missing their dog too great to bear and get another dog immediately. They may do so also because they believe the best way to honor their dog is to help another dog in need of a home & a loving family, and so they open their hearts more easily. Others take time to mourn fully and allow the grief to run its course. Still others use the time after their dog has died to focus on other aspects of their life, and so may not get a new dog for quite some time. And of course, there may be some combination of these reasons as well as others I haven’t mentioned.
For me, the idea of getting another dog was not something that I could see myself doing for quite some time. It didn’t feel any different to me than I imagined a parent would feel when a two-legged child dies. My dog simply wasn’t replaceable; the bond was much, much too deep.
Having said that, I knew that one day I would indeed have another dog in my life, it was just a question of really being ready. I knew that I needed time to mourn. I didn’t hide from the feelings I had, but rather, did the best I could to embrace them, without being overcome by them; for it is my personal belief that in doing so, I could heal more fully and perhaps find the ways that Ace’s passing could serve me. My personal belief is that life happens for us, rather than to us, and so I wanted time to see if how that was true would, indeed, reveal itself to me.
To make a long story short, ten months after Ace died, I agreed to transport a dog from the San Diego Humane Society to Yuma, AZ, where I would transfer the dog to a rescue group from Phoenix, where this particular dog had recently been fostered and would be once again. I simply agreed to do a favor, to take the dog half way from San Diego to Phoenix. I picked Sara up on a Tuesday, with the transfer to happen the following Sunday.
When the woman at the Humane Society brought Sara out to me, she told me they had wondered if Sara was perhaps deaf. Sara did not look at me, and in fact, turned away. She had a noticeable similarity to Ace physically, though, and my heart went out to her immediately.
I loaded her in the backseat, and we headed for home. It was a beautiful late April day, and as usual, I had the sunroof open. Sara put her front paws up on the console between the front seats and lifted her nose toward the open roof, just as Ace had done, with a big smile on her face, relishing the fresh air and all the smells that came with it.
In that moment, Ace was once again with me. I was overwhelmed by feeling Ace’s presence. Whether you believe it or not, I don’t care. I felt him. I felt his presence and I felt his joy and I felt his love. The very definition of channeling is to convey messages from a spiritual guide, and in that moment, Ace was coming through loud and clear. It was the most joyful moment I had since Ace had died; driving back home with this dog in my car, tears streaming down my cheeks and the biggest smile on my face!
That didn’t quite do it though. My ‘plan’ was that I’d probably adopt a rescue puppy in early fall. Sara was a senior, apparently deaf, and besides, I wasn’t quite ready for a new dog. But Sara threw up the next day. And the next, and the next. And she reminded me more of when Ace was sick than when he was vibrant and full of joy, like the moments with his head out the sunroof. And there was no way that I was going to pass her on now.
A trip to the emergency vet that Friday for blood work showed nothing wrong; it was likely stress, changes in food or a combination, so Sara was going to be alright. The rest, as they say, is history.