It has been one year and I wanted to share with you what I learned in a year since my beloved dog passed away. I had such a powerful, instant bond with Maya from the first day that we laid eyes on one another. You can read about it in my blog post that I wrote when she passed away.
I was immobilized for the first couple weeks. My husband wanted another puppy as soon as possible. I thought that I would as well, but I was physically and emotionally exhausted from all the care-taking during Maya’s illness as well as the overwhelming exhaustion from grieving my loss. But this was the first time that the two of us had experienced a physically empty home. We raised four children and four pets at one point in our lives together. For many years, it was just the three of us, me, my husband, and Maya. We are huge animal lovers, so we missed the presence of a dog in our home. So we began our search, and I must say that it was hard. We knew that we wanted the same or similar breed. However, the crazy amount of puppy mills and shady dealings was overwhelmingly sad.
We looked at shelters, online sites and so on. Eventually, we found Chloe (pictured above). A little Maltipoo that looked a lot like Maya, who was a Maltese. I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to get a dog that had very similar features, but I did feel a connection when I met Chloe, so we brought her home.
I didn’t experience the strong instant bond with Chloe that I felt with Maya, but there was something there. Chloe clearly wasn’t Maya, and I didn’t expect her to be Maya, but it was odd that she could be of a similar breed and could not be more different! Our bond took time and at times, I confess that I wondered if I made a mistake (I feel guilty admitting that because now I love her so very much). She was not easy to train. Chloe has a strong will and Maya required little training. However, I have come to LOVE the differences that I have learned about the two of them. Maya loved to cuddle; she followed me everywhere, and she was weirdly in-tuned to me. Chloe is smart (which is why she was so challenging to train!) I can’t teach her enough tricks. She loves to play and walk and go everywhere with us. She has become our travel companion. We even take her biking with us. She pops her head outside of her cart as the wind blows on her face on the trails. It has been enjoyable learning the differences between Chloe and Maya. In a sense, because Chloe is so different from Maya she reminds us about Maya in a way that we find enjoyable! My husband and I love the differences; we love remembering Maya and we love Chloe.
One of the big lessons that I learned is this: From the day that I brought Maya home I thought about and imagined that dreadful day that I would lose her. I was scared because I loved Maya so very much, and I knew the loss would be profound. But I’ve learned that I spent too much time worrying about losing her. And I learned that I can enjoy and love another beloved dog and it in no way takes away from my love for Maya. So now I don’t think about when that dreadful time will come when I have to face yet another loss. I simply enjoy the time that I have now. And as much as there are times when I feel the loss of Maya, what is wonderful is that I also remember her with love and fondness. I thought that I would only feel the sadness of my loss, but I don’t, I remember her with joy, happiness and laughter.
One last thought. I think that Maya came into my life to teach me how to self-nurture, clearly she nurtured me with the soothing comfort of lying on my lap. I think that Chloe came into my life to teach me to play and stay active, as I get older. Chloe does lay on my lap with me and she stays close to me but it is different in a way that I have learned to appreciate. As I said, I am grateful for the differences and I continue to love & learn. Some people say that the loss that they felt when their pet passed was so strong that they never wanted a dog again, which I understand. But for me, as long as I can love and grieve, and then love and grieve again, it is worth it to me. So thank you, Maya, and thank you, Chloe, for coming into my life. I am forever grateful.
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