Yep, that was me. Dog trainer without a dog. I can't believe it. I've always had dogs, dogs and more dogs in my life. So how is it that I found myself dogless?
Ricci entered my life when I had 3 other dogs (Bosco, Brandy and Naomi) in the pack. Gradually they each died of old age leaving Ricci as the only dog. I didn't want it to be that way, but Ricci did. Somehow she made it clear to me through her behavior that she really wanted to be the "only" dog. That went against all my instincts and beliefs but I truly believed she was happiest as the only child. So I told her that I wouldn't get another dog or puppy until after she passed if she promised to make her passing easy on me.
It's hard enough to lose a companion pet but it's even more difficult when it's the only one. As I've lost many pets in my life, I always had others at home that I had to care for. They needed me, I needed them and I enjoyed returning home to a plethora of wagging tails and wet noses. There was always something warm and fuzzy to cuddle. But when you lose your one and only, you come home to an empty house. There's a giant emptiness in your heart that aches.There's no immediate reason to get up in the morning because there is no one breathing into your face reminding you it's breakfast and potty time. It's no fun to go for a walk alone...... I'll skip the rest of the melancholy stuff because if you've ever lost a pet, you know how it is.
Anyway, Ricci did keep her end of the promise. She passed quietly in her sleep. She was active, healthy and playful all the way up to the night before she left. She even ate her dinner enthusiastically that night.
That was on June 2; she was almost 15 years old. I'm grateful she never became sick or lost any quality of life. I'm grateful to her that I never had to make a decision as to when it was the right time to let her go. She left on her terms.
Eventually I felt it was time to bring another puppy into my life. Every dog and puppy I've ever had were all adopted from animal shelters, rescues, strays that stayed and dogs who were abandoned. I had never been through a dog breeder selection process, nor selecting a puppy from a litter of puppies. Little did I realize how difficult that would be.
I started my search with "let's just see who has puppies available right now." which quickly became, "who has puppies that will be available in the next month" and then "next 2 months" and so on. No one had any puppies available anytime in the near future. At least that gave me plenty of time for a thoughtful selection.