It has been a little over a month since we lost our beloved Bullmastiff, Greta. The first week was honestly hell. As a veterinarian friend remarked, “A dog her size is a real presence in your home.” No truer words could ever have been spoken about Greta. She was indeed a presence. Every time I walked in the house, she was quietly snoozing on the couch. Every time I went to the kitchen, she positioned herself underneath my feet so I would not forget that she was there. Every time I sat on the couch, she laid across my lap. She was always here in all of her beautiful drooling, farting, snoring, loving glory.
My heart had a huge hole in it after she died. Whenever I came home, I expected to see her. I dreaded walking into the living room, knowing that I would not see her or hear her snoring softly as she slept. It was like a punch to the gut to come home and not see her on the couch waiting for me. Whereas Willy is my companion for fun and outdoor shenanigans, Greta had been my lap dog. When I was in Greta’s presence, I always felt loved. She just wanted to be near me. She wanted to be petted and told how beautiful she was. She made it quite clear that she was happy to be my companion and lap dog.
For a long time leading up to Greta’s passing, Steve and I talked about how we wanted to get new carpeting and a new couch. We kept putting it off because Greta was old and we did not want to replace anything until after she was gone. Old dogs make messes and the bigger the dog, the larger the mess. However, what I found after losing Greta is that the carpet and the couches are completely unimportant to me. I suddenly did not care about a couch or a carpet. All I really wanted was a dog to cuddle.
I have always been a big dog kind of person. My first two dogs were Rottweilers.
Then we owned and loved Klondike, the white German Shepherd.
Of course there was Greta.
Last January, I decided I wanted a canine running buddy. We adopted Willy from the Western Australian Shepherd Rescue (http://www.westernaustralianshepherdrescue.com/ ). At 44 pounds, he seemed delightfully tiny in comparison to our previous dogs. I relished the fact that I could pick him up if I needed to, because I had never owned a dog that I could pick up before.
During the final year of Greta’s life, I really started worrying about my inability to pick her up. She was large and she outweighed me. As her gait became stiffer and her hips lost some functionality, I worried that some day she might not be able to get up and I knew I wouldn’t be able to lift her. Thinking that she might end up in pain and that I would be unable to help her upset me tremendously. It was something that weighed on my mind every day of her final weeks. As much as I love big dogs, I knew that she would be my last large or giant breed.
As my heart ached over the loss of my 120 pound lap dog, I knew that I needed a second dog in my home and in my heart. I love big dogs, but I knew I wanted something small and relatively low-maintenance. I wanted a cuddler that wouldn’t need miles of running each day. Enter Sadie, the Boston Terrier.
We went and visited her a couple of weeks ago at her previous home.
She had recently been spayed, so we had time to think about whether getting another dog was the best decision. Honestly, my head was not sure that I should bring her home, but my heart wanted her here. After a couple of weeks, we decided to go and get her.
I have fallen madly in love with her. She is a sweet little snuggle-puppy.
I am positive that my husband never pictured himself with a tiny dog before.
Sadie follows me everywhere. She looks up at me with those gigantic, adoring eyes. She wants to cuddle up next to me no matter whether I am in bed or sitting on the couch. I love how she wants nothing other than just to be with me. On those days when I question my own value or worth as a human being, I just look into the eyes of my dogs. They remind me that I am both lovable and loved. No words are possible or necessary; the love from a dog is simply one of the purest loves in the world.
I still have a hole in my heart from missing my Greta. I continue to grieve her loss and she will never be forgotten. But the heart has an infinite capacity for love. We have the ability to care for many creatures, human and otherwise, over the course of a lifetime. I will continue to make peace with the fact that Greta is no longer here while allowing this sweet little girl into my heart. Welcome home, Sadie.