Last month, I wrote about the passing of my nearly 12-year-old poodle, Chaucer. His death was quite sudden, and we were all sort of in shock.
Sudden or not, nothing can really prepare you when you lose a beloved pet. I walked around for days feeling like someone had punched me in the stomach. Of course, I couldn’t quit working or caring for my family, so I held my emotions mostly inside.
Writing the column about him, and writing in general, is therapeutic for me, so that did help. What helped even more was when I began receiving e-mails from my wonderful readers. So many of you expressed empathy and told me stories about your pets … those you have now, and those you lost.
Synthia told me about her family’s cocker spaniel named Barney. She and her husband adopted Barney when he was a newborn and had him for 14 ½ years. She told me Barney was 6 when the couple’s two daughters were born and that he was always patient and sweet with their children.
Everybody loved Barney. Synthia said she felt heartbroken when they lost him. To honor Barney’s memory, the family planted a bush in their backyard and had a memorial service. How sweet.
Sandra e-mailed me about losing her beloved Roxie Heart. She said her sweet dog was truly a "snuggle bunny." Interestingly, Sandra said her grandson recently dreamed that Roxie Heart came running through the doggie door and was healthy and happy. Makes you wonder.
Dawn told me about her golden retriever, Amber Grace, also called Gracie or Amber Girl. Dawn said the two of them loved to lounge on the deck and also to sleep. Like Chaucer, Dawn said Amber Grace died unexpectedly.
Melinda e-mailed that, like me before getting Chaucer, she used to have only big dogs. Now she has four papillons. Huey, the oldest, is 9. J.J. is a rescue. The other two are brother and sister. Melinda said the dogs bring her joy and happiness every day. She encouraged me to open up my heart again.
I began to look at pet rescues online and came across a little face that pretty much caused me to laugh out loud. It was a tiny morkie (half Maltese and half Yorkshire terrier) that had been abandoned in Tennessee. The pet rescue people found a foster home for the tiny dog, but were trying to find a permanent placement.
I contacted them for more information but didn’t hear back for nearly a week. During that week, I looked at other rescues, but none gave me the reaction that little morkie had. Just when I was about to give up, I got an e-mail back that she was still available. It couldn’t have been an accident that we happened to be taking a trip to Nashville in the next few days. I made an appointment to meet her.
The whole drive I was beside myself with excitement. My first glimpse of the tiny puppy (just 1 ½ pounds) brought me to happy tears.
Of course, we adopted her on the spot. She was so scared and quiet that we wondered if she was going to be a quiet, calm puppy.
The very next day, she "woke up" and hasn’t stopped, except when she passes out from her energetic and fearless playing.
I named her Indigo and we call her Indie. She is now a 10-week-old, 3-pound force to be reckoned with. The first thing she did when we introduced her to our 85-pound Lab was walk right up to Jazz and let out a loud yap.
Jazz doesn’t much care for our little powerhouse yet, but I am hopeful that will change. Indie is sweet, bossy, sassy and hilarious. Her antics make me laugh out loud all the time. Even when she is being naughty, her cuteness factor is just too powerful to ruffle anybody’s feathers.
Thank you again to my wonderful readers for offering your stories and words of encouragement. I will always have a special place in my heart for Chaucer, but Indie is certainly helping heal that wound and fill that empty spot.
Adlen Robinson is author of "Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home." E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.