I have been experiencing a bit of an up and down roller coaster ride of emotions over the last few weeks, regarding the puppy. When I put down my deposit, I was certain it was the right thing to do. I was very excited at the time. As the weeks have gone on and the time of the birth of the puppies has approached, my excitement has waned down to almost nothing.
Then, the other day a picture of a Border Collie popped up on my Facebook wall. A GHF dog named Zain. He is a little older than I would have liked - 15 months - but I was immediately interested.
The idea of getting a rescue instead of a puppy was very appealing and I came very close to trying to set up a time to go meet him. But it turns out that he is probably not a very good match for Dean, and he can't be left home as much as I would need to right now. I think the reason I was so drawn to the idea of another rescue is that I would not have to deal with the reality that raising a puppy is going to remind me of Speedy in some ways, and that missing him is going to hurt quite a lot at times.
So, with Zain no longer an option, I did find some peace with the idea of the soon-to-be-born puppy. I got word today that the puppies were born. I got to see a picture, too. Five boys! In the picture they are busy eating away!
I had kind of half expected the excitement to kick in when I finally saw a picture of the puppies. It didn't.
But I finally realized today what has been happening. It all makes sense now. And it is not what it might seem . . .
I have raised a puppy only once before. Every one of my other dogs have been rescues. Dean, the youngest of the adoptees, was 10 months old when he came here.
I think it is hitting home that this puppy that I will be welcoming into my home and raising will simply not be Speedy.
When I saw the picture, I finally saw that this puppy will be a completely different dog altogether. And I will be constantly remembering Speedy. But I won't have him - I will have a new dog who is, right now, a total stranger to me.
Now, it might seem like the best thing to do here would be to back out. But I actually think the right move is to proceed. Move forward.
I've been here before. I was here the day Tessa and I were driving to our very first Agility competition and my heart was breaking because I was not going with Maddie. I was here the first time Tessa and I went to Westminster to run CPE together. I was here the day Tessa and I ran for the first time in the Periland building. I was here the very first time Tessa and I went to Agility class after I lost Maddie and my whole heart and soul said, "I don't want to be here, I don't want to do this!!"
I've been here before and I know how it all turned out. I know that now I wouldn't trade Tessa for anything. I know that walking through those difficulties, with my beautiful Tessa willingly along for every step of the ride, was the only way to get to the great place where she and I are now.
And I know that I will love this puppy. I know that the day will come when I will think, "how could I ever have thought that I didn't want to do this?" I know that I will look at this puppy someday and say, "you aren't Speedy, but I wouldn't want you to be!" I know that someday I will look at that first puppy picture, pick out my guy and marvel at the fact that he was so tiny!
Someday he will have a name. Someday his face will be as familiar to me as Dean's and Tessa's and Sammie's. Someday we will have lived and worked and grown together. Someday he won't be "the puppy". Someday he will be somebody that I can't even imagine life without.
All of my dogs have taught me lessons, many unique to each of them. This has been one of Tessa's lessons. She showed me where this path can lead if I can just muster the resolve to move ahead.
I've been in this place before and I recognize it. And I know that no good can come of staying here. It's time to start moving forward.
Because we continued to move forward, Tessa and I honor Maddie's memory every time we step into an Agility ring together. I don't think about her as much as I used to - I really am focused on Tessa now. But we go out there together and we put both put as much heart into our run as we possibly can, and we accomplish things that Maddie and I never could. My first Agility partner will always be a part of what Tessa and I do out there.
And I know I will put my heart into raising this puppy, and in doing so I will honor Speedy's memory. He will always be a part of whatever the puppy and I accomplish together, both in life and in performance.
I know this for a fact - if we go ahead and welcome the puppy when the time comes, I will be very, very glad that I did. All I have to do is look at my girl to know that the best is yet to come.