The following post is another from Just Dogs With Sherri, and I admire her insight on this entry. Maybe it's just me, but I think we can apply a lot of this to our humane relationships as well. The photo is of Reef, recently adopted from the Franklin County Humane Society. He was on his way home- protected from the rain outside, protected from the reputation that pit bulls are evil, and protected from the lonliness of shelter life. May we all experience the feeling of safety he has in this photo.
I am often asked "how do you know its time for another?" Sadly our dogs only share a portion of our life; their life expectancy is only a fraction of our own. They come into our life; enrich and leave us with life experiences and memories. Each and every dog that passes through our life leaves a mark; alone they assist in our human/canine evolution. All of us; as in humans, have made mistakes with our dogs. Making mistakes is a part of our evolution. You are the dog person you are today because of all the dogs who have come through your life.
Many of the dogs that leave the most considerable and lasting mark on us are not even our own; they may have simply passed by leaving life lessons upon us. What we do with those life lessons are our own personal evolution. As a trainer I am constantly helping others to understand life with a canine. Countless owners over the years have been overwhelmed by a sense of wrong doing. "Sherri; I wish I'd known." Going back in time and beating oneself up about things you wish you would not have done; is counter productive. We cannot go back in time and undo all the wrongs that we have done; heck I wish I could many times. And I wish I'd known back then what I know today. But the fact is; life is a never ending education.
Many of the dogs that slip through our lives are what we call "heart dogs." A heart dog is the equivalent to a human soul mate. It can be the loss of a heart dog that stops us from adding another to our life. "How can I ever love another dog as much?" I have loved each and everyone of my dogs; but differently. They have all been individuals; each sharing their life with mine. An intertwined species relationship that can and should be equally beneficial although I strongly believe that we are the lucky ones.
When I look back at the dogs who have systematically molded me into the dog person I am today I have good and bad memories. Some of the saddest moments have the biggest impact on change and the passing of a canine can be that. It can leave you an empty shell mourning the loss but it can also be the catalyst into dogdom. A great love can supercharge an understanding that may have otherwise been lost to you. I cannot imagine not having a dog in my life and as much as I love the dogs that I share my life with now; I also know and look forward to the dogs I will know in my future. So make this day a great one; live, learn, love and move forward.