It’s not that we have favorites. Rather, it’s that each one holds a special place in our heart. They have different personalities and different needs. And I believe our job as a parent is to fill those needs. Be the person that helps them be their best.
That doesn’t mean loving some more and some less.
It means loving them differently.
On Saturday, my beloved Chance passed away. It was totally unexpected. He only came into our lives a short nine months ago. A week ago he was fine. And now he is gone.
It’s amazing how deeply a dog can burrow into your heart in such a short time.
And how much it can hurt when they leave.
Unfortunately I’m no stranger to dogs leaving. We’ve lost three in less than two years. And yet each one’s life, and passing, has taught me something. Awakened something inside me. Enlightened me. And maybe most of all, given me a great big dose of perspective.
As I sat at the kitchen table drinking my coffee this morning, and as I sit here in my office trying to work, there is a huge void. From the day Chance came into our lives he was right by my side. For five months I could barely leave the house because he had such separation anxiety. And that was OK, because he needed the security of knowing I’d be there after being abandoned by his last owner.
Chance found us.
We weren’t even looking for another dog. He’s the first dog I’ve ever gotten for the dog rather than for me. He needed a home and something told me he needed us. And the funny thing is, of all the dogs I’ve ever had—and I’ve loved them all immensely—he’s the one who burrowed the deepest into my heart, the fastest.
Perhaps it’s because he needed love the most.
I was going to mourn his passing quietly. Not write about it on my blog. Because frankly, it just hurts too much. But this morning I realized Chance deserves the tribute. He brought so much into my life this year. I owe it to him to honor that. As as I thought about that this morning, these thoughts about love equality came to me.
I still have my lovable little Hope.
But I realized this morning as much as I love her, Chance held a sacred space in my heart. Just as I don’t love my kids the same. In my experience, we tend to have a special love and connection to the ones who challenge us more. The easy kids and pets are easy to love. But perhaps the ones who test us and make our lives a bit more challenging need that love just a little bit more. So we’re there for them. And at the same time we know all we can do is create a loving and safe home for them. They will have to face and deal with their own struggles. Our job is simply to love and support them.
I sure wish I could have been there for Chance a bit longer.
In the past few months he had finally conquered his separation anxiety. Of course he preferred if I was home with him, but he had come to understand that whenever I left, I was indeed coming back home. And he was always there to greet me with love and a wagging tail.
We’ll never know why he had to go so soon. Perhaps he came to us for a reason and his job was done. He gave us and Hope so much I wouldn’t be surprised. I’m just grateful he found us and graced us with his presence this year.
I know having dogs means losing dogs. I just hope it will be a good long time before we have to go through this again.
It looks like Hope will have to get us through the loss of another dog.
She’s truly living up to her name, providing comfort now for the third time. She’s a sweetie, and a therapy dog after all. So I’m confident she’ll do her job well. That’s just the kind of dog she is. And if there’s one thing she’s very good at it’s making me laugh and smile.
I’m sure it won’t be long before we add another furry friend to our family.
Because the other thing Chance taught me is that we are definitely a two dog household. Sure, it’s a lot calmer with just Hope. But that extra love, energy—and yes even chaos—that exists when there’s two tails running around the house is the life I know and love.
Goodbye Chance. Rest in peace my little puppy. You are missed more than you know. Actually, something tells me you do know.