Humans are capable of some incredible acts of evil and terror. On equal measure, humans are also capable of some incredible acts of love, loyalty, and devotion. (READ PREVIOUS STORY HERE)
It’s amazing the light that can come from a time of darkness. We lost our little fur buddy on April 8th. It’s been two weeks since he’s been gone and I miss him more than ever. But my heart isn’t ripped to shreds anymore. Instead, I’ve grown a new heart and her name is Miss Maple. I always thought of our heart (symbolically) as this organ that can be measured in size and limited in growth true to its real counterpart, the heart that beats inside us. But, the heart that we use to describe love? That’s something entirely different. Like the universe, it’s constantly expanding and changing, it can’t be measured and it doesn’t begin or end anywhere.
My biggest fear with adopting a new dog was that it felt like a betrayal. I hesitated, a lot. In fact, the first night we were fostering Miss Maple to see how she fit in I told Larry it wouldn’t work. As she sat on the sofa next to me, curled up in a ball, in the exact spot Pogo used to sleep, I felt so broken hearted. I was angry and crying. “This is his spot, this is where he should be – right now. He wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.” Larry just nodded. I don’t know what he was thinking – I rarely do. But he would support whatever I decided. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t sure I ever would be.
Then I went to bed and put Miss Maple in her crate. We were told she had been sleeping there every night since she was rescued and would be totally fine. She wasn’t. She was crying and it didn’t take long for me to go get her. “Ok, you can sleep with me tonight. But if you get up and pee or poop in the house while I’m sleeping, you’re not staying even one more night.”
I think I was secretly hoping she would. She didn’t. She curled up in a ball against my stomach and slept soundly all night. I wondered if she had ever done that. She was found wandering the streets in El Centro and had had a litter of puppies. (We don’t know what happened to them) They think she was born and grew up on the streets, scrounging for herself. Here she was, contently sleeping in a tiny little ball perfectly content. She was probably missing her babies – it was obvious they were never weaned from her properly. Probably taken and sold off? She was missing her babies, I was missing my fur baby. We curled up together and slept.
Then I woke up and she bounced with joy. She zipped around the house and covered me in kisses. I sat on the sofa and had my coffee and she again fell asleep against me. She wouldn’t leave my side.
She made her way into my heart and it only took one night. “Okay, you win,” I told her. “You can stay.” She kissed me on the nose. “You’re welcome, Miss Maple. Welcome Home.”
Sometime throughout this we named her, Miss Maple. Her eyebrows look like maple syrup and she’s a little lady. It suits her. I woke Larry up and said we were keeping her. He seemed happy – and Jackson especially seemed happy. We took Jackson to school and went to the store and bought her a new collar and a name tag, a food and water bowl, and a matching leash. She made me laugh that morning and I hadn’t laughed since Pogo died. She was instantly bringing us joy. The amazing thing? My heart was still in mourning. I was still sad. But I was also joyous and happy at the same time. The heart is a fickle thing.
Miss Maple does things once in a while that reminds me of Pogo. I think it’s the chihuahua in them. (She’s a Chiweenie) It’s bittersweet. Since Pogo has died, I’ve received cards and a gift from friends and his vet. Unless you have a pet, you’ll never understand. And it’s definitely something that I think we should all understand. There’s a unique relationship with our pets. They’re loyal, they’re always happy to see us, and they really show us the meaning of unconditional love. When we lose that, we really do lose a family member. But the most beautiful thing is being able to continue that growth and love with new additions.
There’s something extremely gratifying about rescuing an animal and giving them a home.
“You never have to worry about a thing again, Miss Maple. You have a home now.”