From “At home with the dogs of kona’s touch” series celebrating
APDT’s Train Your Dog Month and winner, best social media campaign
Ten years ago yesterday we made a decision. I consider that day one of the best of my life. I didn’t want another dog, I wanted the one I had just lost, Kona, our ten year old Beagle. She was my heart, she was a life altering part of me. And now she was gone, in a flash. All I did for months was search the Internet for her. No, I didn’t want another dog, I wanted her. I thought I would never be able to breathe again and I was pretty sure I would never smile again.
So, when I saw this dog on Petfinder I was curious. I had been staring mindlessly at dogs, thousands of them, for months, looking for my dog. She had died three months before, rather suddenly. I was stuck in grief and misery, stuck in a fear and an emptiness I couldn’t comprehend. I had my family, close human bonds and the love of our lab Bo, we’d had since he was 49 days old. He was lost too, we all were.
So, as I said, when I saw this dog on the net, I was curious. A few hours later I looked again. She was the first dog in three months of web surfing that I actually looked at twice. The dog I wanted was a Beagle and didn’t exist anymore in bodily form. This dog was a lab mix who looked nothing like a Beagle. She was white, bigger than a Beagle and she had one ear up and one ear down. The picture was very cute and I think I let out a little grin.
Several hours later, I went back. Her name was Stormy, because the night she had been brought in, there was a huge thunderstorm. She looked nothing like a Stormy to me, but what did I care, I didn’t want another dog. The dog I was looking for was gone and I knew I would search the net forever in misery.
Yet somehow the picture of this cute dog with the ears came out of my printer. I put it on my desk and carried on with my grieving process. We were all crushed including Bo, who had never lived a day without another dog as his companion. He went straight from his litter right into our home with Kona. In fact Bo was Kona’s 1st year birthday present. I didn’t know much in those days. I did know we were in pain, Bo laying still at my feet under the desk.
I kept that picture and glanced over every once and awhile. Then I went to bed. When I got to my desk the next morning to pursue my quest for the dog that didn’t exist, I saw the picture. There was that dog with the ears, she’s kind of cute. Back to my surfing. I found out there were hundreds of thousands of groups for pet bereavement. I was shocked. I knew none of them would understand my grief. After all mine was worse than all the others. No one would understand mine. It was my heart after all that had died.
Then I went beyond the bounds of my office retreat once again. I felt that since I had actually printed the picture of this dog, Stormy, I should tell my spouse about her. When I announced in the hallway that I had printed this picture of a dog, she said with out missing a beat, and I quote her exact words, “Well, when are you going to pick her up” I was confused and curious again. “I don’t want a dog” I replied sharply, “Where is this dog”, she asked. Funny, I had no idea. When I started my search months before, I put down “National” so I could see as many dogs as I could. I had no idea where this dog was, she could have been in Idaho as far as I knew.
Of course, this “meant to be story” was a littler easier on us. Stormy was at a small shelter just 80 miles south of us. I went from “I don’t want another dog” to calling the shelter in two minutes flat.
The next day she was romping in our backyard with our ecstatic boy, Bo chasing after her in the snow. Every time she crashed into something or tripped on the snow, we laughed. When she climbed up on a three-foot snow bank and peered over out over the fence, we laughed. It felt good and bad all at the same time. We were betraying our sadness, our grief. Not Kona, but our misery. It was time to open our hearts again and let in joy. Kona would have approved. Our home was a home again. Our smiles were coming back, we found ourselves laughing again. The breathing would still take awhile to format in our crushed lungs, but that came back too.
That afternoon as the sun shown brightly on my new white dog, it sparkled on her beautiful white coat. There she was gleaming in the sunlight, full of new life. She sparkled like a Little Star, and from that moment on that’s who she is. Little Star White Dog. To this day she can make me smile like no other.
Thank you Little Star for rescuing us that day. And thank you for the laughter.
Happy 10th Anniversary. We love you so much.