Friday, October 31, 2014

Daring to Totally Love Again

By Linda Grupp Boutin

Maybe you have experienced it your heart away to a special pet so fully that when that little one leaves your life you are bereft. It has happened to me at least twice, two special little basenji girls that I thought I could never leave my heart open to that kind of pain ever again. First was Ginger who walked alongside me from the time I turned 11 until I grew up, got married and started my adult life. When Ginger left my side, I lost a piece of my heart with her passing. I bound up that bleeding place so tightly it seemed nothing could penetrate the bandages protecting the deep-set scar.
                        Ginger riding in the car.
     More pets came and went over the years, then one midnight I found myself breathing life into a struggling little newborn puppy who could not breathe on her own. The bandaging dropped away while I rooted for her to take that first breath on her own. She did and my heart skipped a beat of its own. Rosie became the salve that healed over old wounds left by the loss of Ginger and all my protections disappeared. Oh yeah, she stuck to me like glue from that day forward for 14 full years. And then one night I knew it was time for me to let her go. The vet had explained that her heart was enlarged and it made it hard for her to breathe, again...and then she was gone and now my heart broke all over again.
Two week old Rosie
     Twice burned, I knew how to guard myself from abandoning myself to the love of a pet. I knew well that their lifespans are shorter than ours. I knew well the pain I had felt after these losses. I also searched for a new dog and found Noelle needed our home within a short time after losing Rosie. This new basenji girl came to us a seasoned adult, experienced in the show ring and having produced a couple of fine litters to pass along the sweetest temperament I have ever experienced in a basenji.
     Alas, we lost Noelle just 5 years after she joined us in our home. A combination of Fanconi Syndrome and contaminated kibble suddenly swept her away with no warning and in just a few days. I was so very sick at that same time, that it was hard to have the energy to breath myself, much less properly grieve this new loss. Within days of losing our little girl I found myself in the hospital in the fight for my own life for the next year and more.
     And then came the day when Pastor Brian spoke about Ecclesiastes and the time of joy and next Kindu came into our home. When I think of the parade of wagging curly tails that have graced my life, I can only give great thanks to a Lord who created such wonderful companions to brighten our human days. My dogs help me keep my footing in a world that I find so difficult to understand at times.
Kindu relaxing at home

     So tonight I found myself sandwiched between my companions for today, Star and Kindu. Both basenjis and opposite to one another in most everything except their love of cookies. And I realized that once more I have lost my heart to these two characters. Their needs overrule my own and I would be lost without their greeting my comings and goings and keeping me company in the long hours of the days when I am in pain. I have learned that the pain of loss when their days come to an end are more than compensated by the long years I enjoy having them in my life. Oh yeah, I am smitten and once again daring to totally love again.
Sleepy Star beside me