It all began a few months after our 11 ½ year old four legged  “best friend forever” passed over the Rainbow Bridge in January2017.  My husband and I labored over the inevitable questions:  Do we want another 4 legged companion at our age?  Do we want to go through the puppy stage again?  Should we get a dog that’s a little older?  Should we get a rescue dog?  Do we want another Ridgeback?  What do we really want to do?

After weeks and months of inner searching both my husband, Jerry, and I decided that “yes” we would like another four legged companion as we continue to grow older.  We decided the puppy stage won’t last forever and we could endure it one more time.  We were ready to welcome a new puppy into our hearts and our lives … to grow old together..the three of us.

The odd thing was that I spent a lot of time researching and researching for the “right” breed, the right temperament, the “right” this, the “right” that.  I searched a lot but didn’t but didn’t take any action.  Something was wrong.  My heart was broken.  I missed my old friend terribly.

One day, I remembered how happy my clients were to see my old friend as they came through the door for a counseling session!  I remembered how I could hardly get them back to my office.  They wanted to linger petting him and talking to him in our living room.  And….never mind trying to get them out the door after a session !  Of course, they had to stop and say “good-bye” to my gentle old friend first.

And then I suddenly had an idea… What if we got a puppy who had the potential to grow in to a therapy dog ! Wow !  A pup with a big purpose!  A pup who could add his love and light to my work..who could be in the office with my clients….a pup who had the potential to go in to nursing homes, hospitals, long-term care facilities and bring joy, laughter, unconditional love and light not only into our world, but  into the world of many !!

So, now I had a focus.  I began researching German Shepherds and Laborador Retrievers.  I began contacting breeders who had a history of breeding therapy dogs.  I began to take action.  Finally !!  It was the spring and many puppy liters were being born.  One thing led to another and all of a sudden Jerry and I had an appointment to meet a breeder who had just had a litter of yellow/white labs.  Yes !!

The morning we were scheduled to go, I broke down sobbing.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was incredibly surprised and bewildered at my emotional outburst.  I suddenly realized if I committed to another pup, I truly was releasing my “old friend”.  Was I really ready to do that?  My heart ached.  After many tears, I decided to move forward to meeting the family who had the litter of newborn pups.  I was also anxious to meet the proud parents of the 12 pup litter, Breezy and Tank .

The 4 week old pups immediately captured my heart.  Although we were not allowed to get close to them we knew somewhere in that clump of hungry pups was ours.  Breezy was a good first time mom and Tank was as laid back and nonchalant as any new father I’ve ever seen, but of course, that’s just Tank.

As we left Breezy, Tank and the 12 pups I felt incredibly happy and excited at the anticipation of a new adventure !!  And…what an adventure it has been !

What I Learned From Shiloh:  Lesson (4 weeks old):  No matter how much I loved my “old friend”, no matter how much I missed him, it really was possible to move forward with opening my heart again to a new adventure with another four-legged companion.  Thank you, Shiloh.

 Barbara Christine Haines, M.A.Ed.

Holistic Life Coach

~ To Greater Peace and Joy in Our Lives ~

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