While the end of the last journey is still somewhat fresh in my mind, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on it. I'm referring to the "changing of the guard", so to speak. My dear friend, Deets has been gone for about nine weeks now. I still miss him. I still expect to see him when I drive in the driveway and I still think I should call him to "jump in" and go with me in the pickup. He was such a big part of my life for so long that it's difficult to say goodbye so easily.
Those last hours he spent on this earth were difficult. His breathing was so labored. He was so weak. I sat on the floor with his head on my lap for much of it. I looked into his eyes many times and told him how much he meant to me and how much I would miss him. And I told him it was ok to let go. And finally he did. And I took him outside and laid him by the door until sunup and then Matt and I buried him at the end of the tree strip overlooking the calving lot, one of his favorite places.
Saying goodbye to our old friends is the most difficult thing we do as pet owners. It isn't something folks think much about as they bring a chubby, happy puppy into the family. When we're being bombarded with puppy kisses and house training and watching that awkward "puppy kid" run and play and discover new things, we don't much think about the end of the journey.
But a week ago, our journey began anew. We welcomed a puppy into our family. "Chisum" (named for the cattle baron John Chisum) is a red border collie male who made the trip all the way from northern Oklahoma with my niece last Sunday. He was born three days after Deets died......He is already a part of the family.
We laugh at the silly puppy antics as he becomes more and more comfortable with being with us. We get up in the night to take him outside to potty. We tell him "no", when he tries to chew on our shoes or the rug in the kitchen. And he reminds me so much of old Deets that it isn't even funny.
Chisum has not replaced Deets' spot in my heart. Or Matt's. And he never will. We talk about Deets a lot. We miss our old friend and we give him the respect an old, departed friend deserves. New dogs do not replace old dogs, just like new loved ones don't replace departed ones. There is just a new place in our hearts for them.