I’m writing this blog in hopes that it will bring comfort to those experiencing the loss of a beloved pet — and who may be searching for permission to love again.
Bean is our beloved four-legged son who rescued me and Lisette nine years ago. Our hearts have been very heavy these past several months dealing with his failing health. We have both lost family members and close friends but struggling to keep Bean alive as he slipped away, hand-feeding him when he could no longer swallow, and choosing to help him die, were some of the most difficult and painful things either one of us had ever experienced.
Since his passing six weeks ago, our family and friends have been wonderful. They and thousands of his Bean-The-Moment facebook followers had become very attached to Bean and were grieving with us. Some lovingly suggested that we adopt another dog as a way of continuing to show our love for him. We honestly didn’t know if/when we’d ever be ready for another dog and politely thanked them for their suggestions. There was only one Bean and we were blessed to have him in our lives. Our hearts were broken and we missed him more than words could say. Getting a new dog was not going to make the sadness go away.
Then, last Saturday, we got a phone call from LA Boxer Rescue. A loving, playful 2 year-old named Jack had just come up for adoption and needed a new home. After speaking with them about this “very special dog,” we decided to drive 3 hours up to LA and meet him. It turned out that Jack was indeed a very special boy. In addition to being calm, sweet, loving and, like Bean, looking directly into our eyes, Jack was strikingly handsome. He immediately warmed to us and after a tearful deliberation, Lisette and I decided to take him home on a trial basis.
Driving home, we were filled with mixed emotions…guilt, love, sadness and joy. A double rainbow in the skies above San Diego as we got home had us both crying. It was The Rainbow Bridge with Bean assuring us that he knew he would be in our hearts forever. We could also “hear” Bean giving us permission to take Jack into our lives and love him.
Today, a week later, Jack is adjusting well. So are we. In addition to finding out that he’s in great health, we have discovered that he gets along well with other people and dogs, is strong and athletic, is a fun-loving goof ball and is very affectionate. Giving him a good home and reopening our hearts, even as we grieve, is giving us a feeling of peace. We think about Bean all the time, have a candle burning next to his picture and miss him terribly. With his permission to share our love, we are slowly moving forward and writing new chapters of life. So far, Jack is learning to jog with Lisette and loves road trips to dog beach, dog parks, outdoor concerts and a few of the local hiking trails we enjoy. We are patient with him, knowing the adjustment he is having to make living with us are also challenging.
We are so grateful for the love, support and care our family, friends and doctors have shown us and Bean. And we look forward to letting you know how things are going with our new boy and hope that this has been of some help to you as you navigate the life and loss of your beloved critter.
Taking one breath and one step forward at a time,