Almost eleven months after my beloved dog Buster died, we took home sweet Nina dog for a home trial.
Of course, the happy ending is that Nina is ours, and she’s an absolute delight and joy in our lives.
Losing my dog was a heartbreak. Simple. Non dog people probably shrug a little and someone is probably keying up “it’s not a real loss”
But here’s the thing. I grieved. I missed him. And it hurt so bad I couldn’t think straight.
My dog, along with my friends and family got my through my divorce. But he was there, man.
He was there the day my ex came to get all his stuff, leaving me with a half empty apartment and a roommate to move in six weeks later.
He was there as I installed a chain lock on the door, so scared to be living alone for the first and only time in my life.
My dog was there on the days when I felt like I had nothing else to get out of bed for.
He was there when I would eventually tell my roommate that my now-husband and I wanted to move in together at the end of her lease, and did she want to take the apartment, (that apartment that I loved) or would she be willing to move out?
He was there all through covid.
My dog galloped and gambolled through walks in the park as I dragged myself just. one. more. block.
He was there when I was scared, when I was sad, when I couldn’t find any good thing in my day…because even when I was scared nothing would be good, he was always there – the very best good boy.
He knew innately when I needed a cuddle, or a play, or an afternoon on the couch. He knew when I needed another walk, just a little one.
But before all that – he moved provinces with me, he explored new terrains and places, and he was my friend when I was new to town and very isolated and so, so lonely.
He was always there, tail wagging and wiggling around whenever I came home from work, leaping into my arms, begging for treats.
He was always there.
So ultimately, this is a story of gratitude.
Because I’m so lucky I had this little buddy in my life for so many years.
I’m so lucky he was there for the bad times, but so many good times, too.
And he made every good moment just that much better.
And the thing about grieving a pet is that I felt like I couldn’t be too sad for too long. But I was so, so sad. I missed him in the little morning moments, and the quiet sighs when he would put his head on my lap as he gave me a little bit of extra love.
I missed my dog.
And now, I still miss my dog.
It’s not a white-hot, catch-my-breath, pain-in-my-chest miss.
It’s an now an overflowing of gratitude that of all the little four legged friends everywhere in the world, that this very good, absolutely perfect for me, mohawk rocking, food crazy, chatty chesterton of a dog found me. And I’m so very lucky he was with me for as long as he was.
I miss him, so very much. But I like to think that his spunky attitude is emboldening my very shy girl Nina every time she gets a bit more brave.
I miss him, but when I see Nina, our ragtag muppet of a dog who looks like a messy microfibre mop, I remember how bad Buster looked when he first came home – and I’m reminded to give her time.
I miss him, but when I see Nina wag her tail and wriggle with excitement every time I come home, I know Buster would approve.
I miss him, and Nina is not Buster. I miss him, and I love that she is my dog.
I’m so grateful for my dog, because during the worst days, he reminded me that I am someone worth being excited for, that being joyful where you can is always a good choice, and that even the smallest things leave a big mark on your heart.
I miss my dog. Everything is different now, and I will always miss him.
But wow, I’m ever so lucky he was mine.