There is much to be said for loving again after a loss.
No one knows this more than our family these last few months, living with the painful void left after our beloved Pippen crossed the bridge in June.
There is no magic switch that we can flip to tell us when it's ok to move forward and allow ourselves to love again. Many feel they are dishonoring the memory of the dog they adored by opening their hearts to another, and in some small way I might have been one of those people, despite being a huge advocate of rescue.
My devotion to Pippen was fierce, and my grieving so intense that some days I felt satisfied just to pour all my love on our two other dogs and mourn her forever.
But when you have so much to give, your heart begins to swell, and you just know there is one out there who needs you. Whether you seek them out or they find their way to you, it is important that you allow yourself to be open to the possibility that you can love another again. Maybe one with special needs that someone else does not have the time or patience for, one who never knew a loving home or a cozy bed or the companionship of a well-adjusted canine friend who can teach them how to play and be part of a family.
Our dogs are the only ones who love us unconditionally (sorry signif others, it's true). When they are gone, this does not change, I knew if Pippen saw how many hours I've cried over her, she would not be happy, and I've learned that loving another cannot only bring joy but is also a beautiful way to honor her memory.
The handsome fella in the photo on my home page is Franky. He is 2 years old and, somewhat unplanned, joined our family on Labor Day. He came to us afraid of his own shadow, not eating meals outside a crate, unable to drink water from a bowl. In just 4 short days he was already a different dog - playful, relaxed, affectionate, showing signs of confidence. He is a beautiful dog that was being abused and neglected, just like Pippen was 9 years ago before we met her.
Pippen may not be here to meet Franky, but she primed the way for him, she showed us that we had what it takes to love a special needs dog and give them the life they deserve.
This is the way to honor the memory of those we love.
Take the leap, open your heart, and love again.