Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Moving Forward, Not On

I've had a lot of changes in my life recently. A lot. One of the most profound being that my dog of 10.5 years, my constant companion best friend, Cinn, passed away close to two months ago. I was heartbroken. I still am. I talk to her every day. I have a picture of her and her paw print sitting on one dresser, and her ashes (in an engraved box) on another. I thought It would be ages before I would get another dog. It felt unfair to Cinn to have another.

But slowly, I started looking at adoptable dogs. There are so many dogs that have been displaced, been in awful situations, sitting in a shelter or foster care which, while much nicer than most shelters in general, isn't a permanent home. And I realized that, by helping another dog, I wouldn't be dishonoring Cinn, but doing the exact opposite. It would be a testament to how wonderful she was to want to help another dog in need.

This past week, I met a dog named Grace. Grace is a two year female shepherd mix, which is exactly what I was looking for. She lost her home when her family got evicted and could no longer feed their kids, let alone their dog, and decided the best thing to do for her was to bring her to a foster organization where she mind find a loving home. She's certainly seems a bit more playful than Cinn, though that's not too difficult, because Cinn wasn't a particularly active dog. Plus, it wouldn't be a bad thing for me to get a few more walks in each day (watch out, Fitbit Contest friends!), and perhaps her youthfulness will help keep me feeling young as well.

After giving it some thought, I decided to move to the next stage with Grace, which is a "trial week." Basically, they want to make sure you feel the dog is a good fit for you - and vice versa - before completing the adoption. Not every dog is for every person, and they like to make sure you're both happy. My trial week started this past Sunday, and Grace is doing remarkably well. She has already attached herself to me as her "mom", and follows me everywhere. Everywhere. She's playful and youthful, which actually helps me keep up my energy after long work days. It puts a smile on my fact to see her endlessly interested in her toys, racing around when I get home because she's so excited to see me. I'd had an "older" (or older acting) dog for so long, I'd forgotten about the puppy stage, especially as Cinn wasn't even particularly active as a puppy. I still have a few days left in the "trial" but I'm pretty sure that Grace is here to stay.

The night before Grace arrived, I told Cinn all about her. I cried when I did so. I still miss my Cinn, my sweet baby girl, every single day. She will always be my best friend and soul mate, my cutest dog ever in the whole world.  Cinn will never be replaced.  But when changes happen in life, eventually, we must move forward.  If not, we spend our life in unhappiness, living in the past and letting the present pass us by, never seeing the opportunities for happiness that surround us. I know Cinn would never want that. All she ever wanted was for me to be happy (and occassionally a walk or a treat). So I'm not moving on. Moving on, at least to me, sounds like what you had wasn't good and you've tossed it aside to find something better. I don't believe in moving by this definition, because it discredits all that you had. But I do believe in moving forward. I believe in saying, "I have gone through the stages of loss, of grief. I've been sad and heartbroken. I've dealt with the disbelief. Perhaps, in certain circumstances (though not this one), I may be angry. And after a while of this, our minds and our hearts and our souls tell us that we've had enough of that. That the sadness will always be there in the background, especially when we think of the situation. But that there will also come a time when we can think of it and remember the positives, instead of just what we no longer have. And when this happens, whether we realize it or not, we begin moving forward.

I look forward to welcoming Grace into the family. I hope that this trial week continues to work out, and that she becomes a permanent member. However it goes, I know that it won't be just me learning to accept and love Grace. Cinn will be right there by my side in spirit. She will let me know if Grace is the right one. And she will help me learn to love her, to guide me in all that I do with her. Because that is how Cinn and I work. It's how we always have, and it's how we always will.

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