Rod and I started our marriage with 2 Dachshunds and a husky who all lived well into their teens. The last years of their lives were difficult because they all seemed to get old at the same time. Eventually, caring for them made it hard to remember the good times when they were able bodied and accompanied us just about everywhere we went. After the last one from this 'first generation' was euthanized, I spent a whole 'dogless' winter pretty certain that the numbness in my heart meant that we were finished with dog ownership for good. Thank heavens for time, fate and Dachshund puppies. In this excerpt from Finding My Way to Moose River Farm a tiny newcomer brings me back to my senses.
“Let’s go and just have a look,” she, (Michele), suggested. “And bring your checkbook…just in case.”
I loved him immediately. The heat from his tiny black body warmed my palm as he lounged like a lump of coal in it. His soft brown eyes looked right into mine causing me to melt. It was the beginning of my recovery. With youthful innocence he showed me that life moved forward and memories simply bookmarked the past.
Grief overwhelmed me in that moment. I wept for all three of our wonderful dogs who I had loved dearly for so long. How had I lived without a dog all winter? Why did I think I should deprive myself of the incredible privilege that living with dogs provides? What I deemed freedom had simply been grief.
“You have big shoes to fill,” I told him through my tears. “There were others before you who fulfilled so many promises in their lifetime. I hope I can love you as much as I loved them.”
Michele drove the whole way back to Old Forge which gave me three hours to stare at the new puppy in my arms. By the time we arrived home I had memorized him from head to toe. Rod was anxiously waiting in the driveway when we arrived home late in the afternoon. He eagerly took our new baby into his arms so that they too could get acquainted.
With the arrival of Huxley, our next generation of dogs begins.