I have been without a canine companion for nearly two full months since Ruby died. I have lost count of the number of people who have sent me posts of a dog in need of re-homing, the number of texts to take a dog, foster, and the number of times I have been asked, “Have you gotten another dog yet?”
Ruby was my back up dog for Duke and I did not have a backup dog for Ruby because I did not imagine I would need one for many years. Her death was sudden and traumatic. While I could not imagine a life without a dog exactly, I knew I was in no way ready for another.
My friends and I talked at great length about how we do not know me without a dog because for the last 16 years, I have had one or two. My brother said I could not be me without one.
I made a conscious decision not to rush into another because emotionally, losing three dogs in three years was a lot. I went on the hope method that I had learned how to stay grounded without the need of an external grounding source, which for me was always a dog or two. My dogs taught me how to do this over the years, and I felt somewhat confident in the lessons I had learned from them.
Still, I was not sure. I wasn’t sure if I would feel lonely without one. I was not sure that I wouldn’t lose my mind or otherwise lose my sense of mission and purpose.
Two months in, I have not lost my mind or otherwise lost my sense of mission and purpose. I still do not feel lonely. I do miss having a living, breathing, always loving being under foot, but have watched others’ dogs and getting my dog fixes often.
I figured I would be trying to find ways to avoid coming home to an empty house, but as it has turned out, I still like my place. It is still the refuge and the Zen space I created for my dogs and I. While I have the freedom to do other things, and sometimes choose to do them, I am often simply choosing to come home after work.
It is not uncomfortable. I do not feel like I am missing anything in my life. I do plan to add another dog into my life next year. I honestly never thought I would be ok under these circumstances.