Between the Woofs: Beginning To Let Go

John Donne said, “No man is an island,  entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were;  any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. ” (http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/meditation17.php)

When Emmy had to retire, I felt diminished and island-like – alone. But this was all about me, not about Emmy. She had been my assistant for nearly 6 years, and I was bereft. I mourned as if she had died.

But she hasn’t died. She is with my son’s family, and is very happy with them. She is now their beloved pet. She “fell into clover,” as Himself says.

I now know, I have to let go. But I’m now open to the joy of a new dog. Whoever he or she is, there will be a special place for her in our lives and in my heart. It won’t be Emmy’s place. It will be her own place. She can’t and won’t take Emmy’s place – but Emmy couldn’t and wouldn’t take her place.

As a mother, I know each child is loved completely as himself or herself and each has a special place in the mother’s heart. How could I have lost sight of that?! My new dog will have a special place in my heart and be loved completely – just like adding a new child.

I’m surprised it took me this long to realize this! It’s as if a light has gone on inside – a big incandescent bulb that not only gives light, but gives heat. So my mind and heart are enlightened, and I am warmed inside, too.

So, on to the new Woof! It will be several months, but I will be preparing – reviewing my notes from the training camp I attended; reviewing the materials they gave me; reviewing my copy of “Don’t Shoot the Dog!” I will especially review the cues and re-memorize any I have forgotten (I don’t think I have, but I’ll review them, anyway!) I’m ready, and I’m preparing! New Woof, you have your own place in my heart waiting – just for you!

Between the Woofs: Grief – Ups and Downs

Well, 3 months have passed. There are times I think the pain is getting worse rather than better. Emmy is extremely happy with her new family (does that make me jealous? I think so, at times) and her health needs are being addressed very well.

In the meantime, between the woofs, I’ve contacted the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) about their Assistance Dog Loss Service. I don’t want my grief over Emmy to interfere with me bonding with the new woof, do I?

My (now Their) Emmy – such a wonderful assistance dog! I have a brief slideshow that I made from some of Emmy’s pix. I watch it from time to time – not so often that I get maudlin about her, but just to refresh my memory and love for her.

Himself keeps reminding me, “She was your employee, not just your precious pet.” He is right. But the 5 1/2 years we were together were precious to me, and created a bond deeper than I, a “cat person,” ever dreamed I would or even could have with a dog. Himself has taken up many of Emmy’s tasks – and I realize just how independent I was with her. I still needed help, you understand, but SHE provided most of the help. I didn’t have to ask other people for help nearly as much as I do without her.

So, life goes on. My birthday is coming up – and we are going to Medieval Times for dinner! I’m sure I’ll think, “wouldn’t Emmy be interested in those horses!” But, we’ll just have to go to Medieval Times again [this is the original website] after the new woof comes into our lives. Maybe for my next birthday! That’s something positive to look forward to!

Meantime, here is a picture of Emmy with her little boy – just too cute! Think she fell into clover? You betcha! 🙂

Emmy sleeps with the youngest boy (9). Think they adore each other?

Emmy sleeps with the youngest boy (9). Think they adore each other?

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