When you read about the Lhasa Apso breed, you find that some people say there is the spirit of a Dalai Lama in a Lhasa. When you meet Duffy, you will tend to believe that statement.
Michael found Duffy at a time when our oldest Lhasa, Pearl, was pretty sick. She was 14 years old and failing. Honestly, I feel Pearl hung with us and tolerated our intensive care because she did not want to leave Bud with Gracie. Gracie was our rescue dog. Like most rescue animals, she was also older and had her own health issues. As time slide by us, it became obvious Gracie was not going to be a long-term companion for Bud.
Michael found Duffy in an internet ad placed from Utah. What caught his attention was the fact that Duffy and his brother, Andy, were ready to come to us immediately. They were seven months old and had been staying with the breeder waiting for their original owner to recover from breast cancer. Unexpected complications of that surgery forced the owner to make the difficult decision to give them up, opening up the opportunity for us to have an older puppy.
Our main focus was making this change in a way that was easy for both older dogs. After extensive conversations with the breeder, we found a way to get Duffy to our home in Denver.
Duffy arrived at DIA by way of Delta Airlines in his own very roomy dog carrier. Inside the carrier was a new little dog bed, a book of instructions on how to care for him, food, water, and his toys.
Our house became his home immediately. Pearl gave him a sniff and a glance of acknowledgment. Gracie ignored him. Bud taught him how to use the dog door and let him know who was the boss.
Duffy arrived on Tuesday. That Friday, our Vet, Dr. Munger, called to tell me Pearl’s latest bloodwork showed she had severe diabetes.
It was time.
Pearl was ready. As I looked around me, I realized she had retreated into her own space, opening up her corner of this world. She was easing away from all of us while getting her world in order. She was moving on.
I lost another part of my heart that day. I cry as I remember and tell her story. I am grateful we had such great care from our vet and his staff. Pearl was a fighter. She died peacefully in the place where she had fought so many battles. She was finally free of the pain. She will always be one of my biggest and strongest heroes.
From the day he arrived, Duffy has been both the instigator and the peacemaker. He has grown and expanded his own spot in my heart. Oh, don’t be mistaken, he could never ever fill anyone else’s spot–that is impossible. What has happened is he’s smoothed those rough edges by his unconditional acceptance of me. His being has allowed me to be joyful again.
It is the inevitable truth about having a dog. We dog owners know this, but it is a fact we ignore. Yes, ignorance truly is bliss. After walking this road many times before, I now understand that I each day with these special souls is a blessing. I work hard to live each day with this knowledge close at hand.
In the heaven I envision, dogs are on the front line. Well…seriously…of course they are the first souls encountered by anyone coming that way. And yes, they really are at that rainbow bridge spot. In my mind, when a dog dies, there is another dog soul standing in the middle of the rainbow bridge. Each dog is waiting for the other because the dog-in-waiting will soon be on the way to wag his way into the life and heart of the human left behind. That puppy powered with puppy energy and puppy breath will smooch and soothe away the ragged edges of loss.
God understands that it is only another brave, adorable puppy soul who could even attempt to ease the type of pain that comes from the loss of another dog.
For me, Duffy is another champion. He wasn’t waiting for Pearl at the bridge. He knew he had to get a head start because he had some HUGE paws to fill.
Love and peace, Y’all.