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When I lost my 13-year old Husky, Molly, to cancer several months ago, I struggled with the thought of adopting a new dog. Molly had been by my side on every walk, in my bed every night, and under my feet while I worked, every single day for more than 12 years. Losing her was completely and utterly devastating. She had forever changed my life, how could I go on without her?
How could I possibly love another dog as much as I loved my amazing Molly?
If I adopted again, would I be doing a disservice to my new dog? Would I secretly, internally wish that she were Molly?
But, as I sat, in my deafeningly quiet house, without the pitter-patter of Husky toes across the tile floor, the slobbery lapping of her giant tongue in the water bowl, her soft snore comforting me at night, my cold feet no longer warmed by her thick coat under my desk, I decided to take the plunge and adopt a new fur friend.
Dogs make it so easy for you to love them, don’t they? Molly only ever wanted me to be happy. She would want me to stop being so desperately sad and to find love again.
It took all of about 10-seconds after meeting my new puppy to fall completely. She stepped right in and filled all the emptiness in my home and in my heart. It was as if she knew exactly what I needed and didn’t hesitate to provide it.
I still miss Molly every minute of every day. It is with tears on my cheek that I write about her. But, only for a moment until the newest love in my life bounds over to me, licks them away, and replaces my sadness with a smile.
The decision to get a new dog was a tough one, but one that I’ll never, ever regret. My puppy isn’t replacing Molly, she’s continuing her legacy, providing new memories and reminding me of old ones.
And with that, I’d like to share a beautiful piece written for me (and for any dog parent struggling with the decision to bring a new dog home after losing a beloved one) by my father, R.W. Arnold:
A short memo from your new puppy
I know this may seem strange to you humans, but I have something on my mind you should know about. First off, let’s get something straight, I am your dog now. Most people think,” you only got me to replace your former pet.” You know, the one you loved for all those years, and the one you always felt you couldn’t live without. A little something to ease the pain of losing a loved one, that’s all I am supposed to be?
No Way! I will never take the place of your lost friend, I would never even try. You should not forget them or even try to replace those precious moments you spent together. Those long walks, that time spent curled up on the couch together, even the fussing over their little tantrums and times when they mischiviously tore up something or made a huge mess.
I am here to tell you, those memories are to cherish and pull out often to relive that joy and that happiness you shared.
No, I am not here to replace those memories, I am here to create new ones. Like I said, I am your DOG now, in every way. I will love you, and be with you for as long as I am able. I will only add to your life and be what you need in a dog. I am here for you. Give me a try, let me prove that that I can add to your life and add to your memories .
And, should the day come, that I can no longer be with you, please give your new pet the same chance you gave me.
With all my love and a cold wet nose,
Your new puppy