In three more days my husband and I will celebrate the first year anniversary of our little poodle, Libre’, coming to live with us. This time last year was a bittersweet time for us. Our other little poodle, Keva, had just passed away only two weeks before, after a long struggle with heart disease and Cushings disease. She left us the night of our 17th anniversary. We were devastated. She had been with us for almost the entire length of our marriage. She was our fur child. Saying goodbye that night was unbearable for us both. I had devoted the entire year before her passing to keeping her alive and comfortable. I did endless research on the best herbs and supplements and poured most of it into her little mouth trying desperately to make her comfortable from an illness I knew would eventually take her from us. I was hoping, as most of us hope with our pets, that she would be the exception and live far longer than the vets predicted. And, in the end she did. The vet told us the night of her passing that she had lived a full year longer than most dogs could have with these diseases. It brought me little comfort, however. I still felt as though I had failed her somehow. I think that’s what most of us feel when we devote ourselves to someone’s recovery. I thought I could heal her. When she left her little body, she had been struggling to breathe for months. Now she no longer struggled, and now I was left to see what my life would look like next.
My last year had been consumed with my little Keva’s comfort and now I was left with a big void to fill. I had been telling friends and family that once Keva was gone I didn’t want another dog for a while. I needed some time to just take care of me. I had been taking care of someone since I was 19 years old, when I had my first child, and I needed to know what it was like just taking care of me. I wanted some freedom, finally. That’s what I kept saying, and that’s what I firmly believed. Until Keva left.
When she left, that all changed and I got to see a part of me I had not known was in me. To ease the pain of my quiet and empty house, I began to look online for a poodle breeder. I thought if I could have a good breeder’s name on file, then one day, when I was ready to share my home again, I would have someone to call. It gave me comfort knowing that I could call someone, when I was ready. But, what began to happen each day as I looked at cute little poodle puppies online was a deep ache in my heart to share myself again with the warmth of a furry little being. I was overcome with longing as I looked at each little picture. It had only been a week and my stance on needing freedom was melting away. My heart was leading me, and I knew I would be contacting a breeder soon. My husband was ready to embrace a new little being into our lives, but I knew it would be my responsibility to care of this new puppy with total devotion since he was a very busy man with his work. And even though my head tried to argue about my need for freedom, my heart was tugging at me to open itself to a bigger life than the life of what I thought was free and unimcumbered. Within a week my heart had won and we were on our way to Las Vegas to see a little brown puppy that was ready to go home.
I have never regretted that day. We walked into the room where our little Libre’ was and with one look I knew my heart had just expanded. Her little puppy kisses healed a year of grief as I had watched my Keva slip away. And right then and there I realized that independence was what I was really wanting instead of freedom. Independence meant I could still have what I wanted, but that I needed to learn how to take the time for ME while experiencing my journey with someone else.
Since that time, Steve and I have taken a trip away and left Libre’ with a pet sitter, something we rarely did with Keva. It felt good to know she was happy and that we had our time of fun. I had my independence AND I had another fur child. My heart has truly expanded and my life is now much fuller. I’m glad I listened to my heart and allowed another little furry being to come into my life and fill my days with puppy kisses. Libre’s name means Free. I know she was named appropriately.