Last month we took a beautiful drive to Traverse City, MI to see family and we took Coconut. He is such a great little traveler that he makes vacations easy.
Our family has an acre but it’s not fenced and has some pretty busy traffic on two roads so we could not let Coconut run free. The stubborn little stinker has not learned to come when called. He’s better about it, but it was a strange place so I decided to walk him on the leash as usual.
One morning as we were walking to admire their beautiful gardens, Coconut decided to go in the opposite direction. He was adamant and began pulling to the point that my shoulder felt like it was going to get pulled out of the socket. For thirty-five pounds he is a strong dog!
I finally gave in and we ran pell-mell to the mystery location all the while trying desperately not to trip and faceplant into the hostas.
He finally slowed and his little nose began to twitch. He turned his head toward the large tree and dropped to the ground into a contented puddle. And then he sighed. One of those deep, reassuring sighs that dogs emit that show he is as content.
I looked down at Coconut wondering why we had to gallop across the yard to this exact spot. It made no sense to me. And then I saw it.
I knew that Dan and Laura had a beloved dog who had died. Dan said he would never adopt again because of the pain of saying goodbye. He would always enjoy dogs that came his way, but that season of his life was over.
Coconut’s paw was touching a plaster square filled with plastic jewels spelling out the name Pepsi. Somehow, although no smell could possibly be left after nine months, the remembrance plaque for Pepsi had drawn my little guy. It was as if he needed to pay tribute to a fallen dog he had never known. It was uncanny. I stood over my dog who loves dogs and people equally well and tears came to my eyes. Then I thought about what a hole Coconut will leave in my heart when it’s time for him to go over the rainbow bridge. Like Dan, I will never be able to replace Coconut. But that doesn’t mean I’ll never adopt again.
Today is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day and this is a tough one for many. I respect Dan’s position about never opening his home and heart to another dog because of the resulting pain that will inevitably come if we live long enough.
We have had many, many people who come to see us after an appropriate time to meet our dogs. They know they are not replacing their dog who is no longer with them. Instead, they look at their new dog as a way of honoring the old one and a companion who will help them to heal and help them to create new memories.
I hope that all dogs go to heaven. That when I get there I’ll see Coconut, that he’ll jump up and go ballistic like he does every time I come back into the house even if I am gone only an hour. “You made it! Hello! I missed you, I love you!”
Please feel free to post pictures of your loved pet here and tell us their name and what made them so special. We’d love to hear your story.
And if you have been thinking of honoring a beloved dog by adding a new one to your home then please come in and see us. We have so very many dogs who will take over your home and your heart and while you’ll never forget any dog your life will be more complete.