“Two things can be true at once,” a friend said to me recently. Her words, meant in consolation, have helped me immensely.
I’m reeling, sobbing, sharp intakes of breath. But mostly, it isn’t like this. My tears arrive silently, unannounced, from the corners of my mind, floating to the surface like the answer on a magic eight ball. Are we really rehoming our dog, our family pet? Is this really happening? Yes.
Happy memories with Louie arrive, and then even when I don’t want them to, the tears shortly follow. He was a good dog. The best dog. So what happened? How did this happen?
My friend told me that two things can be true at once. That you can love something and have to let it go. That you can try your hardest, get the best trainers, spend all your free time, time you don’t have and more; that things can get better and then worse and then much better and that ultimately, it still will not matter. That you can hold sadness in your heart for the dog you lost, while holding hope, promise and love for the new puppy you’re preparing to bring home. Because you love dogs. You’ve always loved dogs. You’ve never not wanted a dog since the time you were a baby. “Duke”, a dog’s name—not yours—was your first word. But what you don’t want, what you can’t have, can’t keep, is a dog that bites your family. That was it. That was the line crossed. What you can’t have is a dog that endangers your children. Once that happened there was no going back. No matter how much you love him, he loves you; no matter how much of the love there is and always will be between you.
And even though time, that great healer, will pass, every morning you will wake up and hold two thoughts in your head: I can’t wait to get our new puppy and I wonder what Louie is doing? And the sadness and the joy intermingle, tap dance over my heart and I wrestle with this bit of truth. That I am holding the joy and the sadness in my two hands. That I can’t have one without the other. That my love is as infinite as my sorrow. That I will continue to hold space for both.
“Who’s excited to get our new puppy?” I ask. Everyone is excited, but it is Penelope who says, “I am the most MOST excited!” And then, as though recalling from somewhere deep in her little soul, she says, “I gave lots of love to Louie, and I can definitely do it again.”
*Louie update: Louie is currently being trained and cared for by his breeder where he is making good progress.