When we lost Theo, our first dog, I would go sit at Barnes and noble after work because I couldn’t handle going home to an empty house. My husband, (boyfriend at the time,) would call me when he was almost home, and then I’d go home too.
After a month of this, he came home with Charlie. It was impossible to replace Theo, because that’s just not how it works. Dog people know this. Every dog that comes in to your life is so different and serves a new purpose. I wanted to send Charlie back at first, but he grew on me.
Once Charlie made his way into our hearts, I had always wished that he had met Theo. That’s when we made the decision- “When Charlie turns 6, we’re getting a puppy.”
It seemed perfect, he would live half of his life with just us, and then the other half teaching his ways to the new puppy. They would love each other, and when it was time for Charlie to leave this earth, that puppy would carry on a piece of him.
This September Charlie turned 6. The puppy pact was in the back of both of our minds, but with Charlie’s cancer, neither one of us wanted to bring it up.
I thought about it for months, and then I finally came to a decision. Cancer will not run our lives. We’re getting a puppy. I don’t know how much time Charlie has left with us, but he still doesn’t know he’s sick, and he has A LOT of energy. I’m hoping that with whatever time they have together they can form a bond, and Ralphie can carry on a piece of Charlie.
My heart breaks when I think about everything Charlie is going through. I try to be strong for him, but sometimes I just hold him and cry. The thought of going through anything like this in the future, was almost enough for us to never want a dog again. But we’re dog people. Loving dogs is what we do. We gave Charlie such a wonderful life. Why should we deprive another dog of the best life ever, to protect our feelings?
Ralphie is adorable, but it will take some time for him to find his place. It will take some time for us to figure out his purpose. He doesn’t have big paws to fill, because he will never replace charlie. His journey is his own, and that journey starts now.
A piece of me keeps wondering if we’ve made the right decision, but today my husband said it best. “We always planned on getting Ralphie, we never planned on getting cancer. Cancer will not win, but love will.”
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