The day Maverick passed away on July 14, 2016, was the saddest day of my life. It truly felt like a piece of my heart was being pulled from my chest. A constant ache in the deepest part of my soul set in that day and took permanent residency.
Soon after, I contacted Maverick’s breeder letting her know the news and inquiring about Maverick’s lineage. In my mind, the idea of my next sheltie being related to Maverick was my surefire ticket to feeling the same connection with another dog.
I found out Maverick’s breeder was no longer in business but her dogs were passed along to another breeder and even more, Maverick’s grand neice was having puppies! A flutter of hope immediately rose in the pit of my stomach that a fluffy new sheltie puppy may help lift the cloud of grief that had been hovering overhead with no hint of relief.
The thing that excited me the most about having another sheltie from the same lineage as Maverick is a greater likelihood of similar temperament. Maverick was so un-sheltie like in many ways. His spunky, outgoing nature appeared to me as one-of-a-kind yet as it turns out, all of the shelties from Maverick’s line were described the same way. It felt like fate.
A litter of three pups were born on July 31, 2016. Since then, the breeder has been fantastic sending photos and keeping me informed of the puppy’s health. Of the three, she is keeping one (a female) and offering the two remaining males to companion homes. One of the boys, is tri-coloured (just like Maverick).
The pictures of the puppies have been too cute for words. I’m talking jaw dropping, heart-melting, ooo-ing and ahh-ing type cute. My excitement to meet them reminded me of how I felt as a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to arrive.
Yesterday I met the puppies and boy oh boy were they incredible! All of the breeder's shelties were fantastic. Their personalities shone “Maverick” without a shadow of doubt.
Yet something unexpected happened. As much as I loved visiting the puppies, something just didn’t feel quite right. I realized I was going there hoping for a “love at first sight” moment or sign from one of the two fluffy puppies that he was meant to be mine (similar to Maverick humping my leg when I first met him and he wouldn’t leave me alone – lol!). But nothing out of the ordinary happened. It then dawned on me that I was using the notion of a new puppy as a coping strategy to help deal with my continued heartache about Maverick, my Heart Dog.
Both puppies were perfect, but they weren’t Maverick and it was never realistic to expect they would. It would not be fair to the puppy to have a mom who deep down is hoping and waiting for that “Maverick” feeling and unintentionally comparing them. Once this dawned on me, I took a deep breath and let reality sink in that I am not yet ready for a new puppy. Rushing into puppyhood after the recent loss of my Heart Dog would only continue to shadow my grief that clearly has not yet be healed. I need more time to accept he is gone and deal with my emotions before I'm ready to shift gears into the joy of raising a new sheltie puppy.
The most ironic part is that today is my birthday. I’ve had so many wonderful happy birthday’s and nice gifts from my friends and family. Yet, the only thing I truly want is the one thing that I can never have – to see Maverick trot upstairs behind me, push his nose on the bedroom door to pounce his way in, and give me his classic “feed me!” bark.
What I received from Maverick instead is the most important birthday gift of all - the realization that more time is needed to heal from losing him and that I am OK how things are now. Marti & I bond more every day and when the time really is right to welcome a new canine to our pack, I will know it. Today is just not that day.
How did you know when you were ready for your next dog after your Heart Dog passed away?
How can this blog help you?
This website and blog originated from the experience of learning to let go of my beloved Heart Dog, Maverick. By sharing my story and offering the opportunity for you to share yours, I hope we can all truly celebrate their lives. pay tribute, and heal from the loss of our one true canine companion. I hope this website will also raise awareness of the meaning of a Heart Dog because it is a concept that is not largely understood.