All too often I hear animal lovers say at the loss of their beloved pet that they just can’t bear to go through the pain again. As such they won’t ever have another. This is just unimaginable to me. For it seems that to live with the emptiness of not sharing your life with another would be unbearable.
Certainly I know well that sense of incredible loss. The sense that the lost one is in fact irreplaceable. I’ve experienced such loss of special animals, one in particular, that is irreplaceable. I won’t even try to dream that I could replace my dog Tag that I lost in September. But the concept of not having animals in my life every single day of the remainder of my life, is as foreign to me as not having air to breath or food to keep me alive.
In a way I think it would be selfish to deny another animal of the love that true animal lovers have to share. Even if that love is different. Closing yourself off from offering that love and compassion to another is unfair when so many need and deserve such emotion! As I’ve said before, it is those of us who feel so deeply, that morn so grievously and have once been so generous in our sharing of our lives and homes with an animal, who should…no MUST be willing to share the same with another.
No. the new dog or cat will not replace the lost one. They cannot and it’s unfair to place such a burden of expectation upon them. They can however help with the healing process. Sometimes that healing comes from simply the distraction they will create in your life. The excitement, the renewed life, the activity they will inspire, and surely the love they will return with the slightest encouragement all help with the healing. And yes, the adjustment period that accompanies most new pets, the trouble they might get into, the housebreaking they may require all might make you wonder why you’ve done this all over again. The rainy day walks or the trips to the vet all may cause you to question why. But the love they’ll share and their persistence as they weasel their way into that hole in your heart will surely push that doubt away…eventually.
And you’ll wake up one day or return from work to the boundless, unconditional love of your new pet and realize that your once broken heart is again full of love. Maybe it will feel different. Maybe it always will. But a different love is better than no love at all. And surely no one would willingly deny themselves of that.
Tonight, Weasel is finding life and love with a family because they were willing to open themselves to not a replacement but a brand new friend. I am proud of these people who I do not even know but am so grateful for the chance and life they are offering Weasel as a result of being willing to risk their hearts all over again. And I have no doubt that both Weasel and this family are happier tonight than they’ve been in a long time. Weasel, because he’s got it made! And them because they are not only celebrating the gratification of rescuing a dog from homelessness but because they are also relishing the joy of a new friend in honor of old one.
One family member said it best in her inspiring message to all of us at the shelter.
“Dear Pal, I don’t think you understand how much we miss you and there’s no way we could ever replace you. At the same time, everyone knows that you would want us to share the love and attention we gave you, to another dog who never really had a chance. Lord knows Nala hasn’t been the same since you left and we thought it would be best to pick out another friend. We love you Pal and we know that you’d love Weasel too.”
Thank you to this family for all that you’ve done for not just one little dog named Weasel but for inspiring those of us who might not always be so brave in opening our broken hearts to the healing powers of another! You’ve certainly inspired me!