When my wife and I first began processing the loss of our first dog two and a half years ago, I had no idea what would come of it.
On a visceral level there was intense grief and anger, both for the loss of our companion and for the rift in my marriage created by my unyielding desire to provide a forever home for a dog that ultimately was not a good fit for our environment.
And, there was guilt. We should have known more, done more, been more so that we all could have been spared the trauma of Louie’s surrender back to the agency from which we adopted him.
As the 12-step slogan erroneously attributed to Buddha goes: Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. My wife and I could have remained mired in our “mistake” or we could accept and embrace the changes and challenges that came from our choices. Ultimately, we learned that nothing in our lives is a mistake.
On the day after surrendering Louie, our Boston terrier-boxer-mix, I began to write. Lots of cursing and blather at first as the mire had to be expunged. Over time, writing turned into an archaeological dig. I began to unearth fossilized truths that took the shape of my inner life, now exposed. Sharing these truths with my wife nurtured our marriage back to health and opened the door to loving a new four-legged being.
Six months ago, I decided that more was needed: a place where people could learn about responsible pet ownership to maximize the chances that each pet and their family could make a forever home - together. Rescue Legacy has also provided a place to plumb the depths of the human-companion animal bond; how having our pets fundamentally changes us.
We’ve explored the concept that caring and nurturing a being that is forever dependent on us can be a freeing experience because we learn that we have more love to give and receive than we believed we did. We’ve discovered the courage it takes to love and let go - over and over again - by the very nature of our pet’s finite lifespan. And, we been shown examples of pets that persevere through hardships that would make many of of wilt.
But none of this would matter if not for you, Rescue Legacy’s audience. You are the reason for each blog that appears every five days or so, for the researched morsels that help propel the message forward.
In short, I want to say, “Thank you!” I also want to extend an invitation for you to share your thoughts and feelings as to how you have been changed by having a special animal companion in your life. Your stories are always welcome.
I’ve personally broken countless pencil leads, almost rubbed the letters clean off a keyboard and scoured several erasers down to the nub. Seventy thousand words later, I am still writing and editing and re-writing. The bones and flesh are fusing together into something more powerful than carbon dating.
Some kind of tribute to living with a companion is living inside you. Join us on this journey and you will find out what it is.