What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time I had four dogs and was preparing to move. We had Jessie, our 15.5 year old Jack Russell; Tilley our 14.5 year old Standard Poodle. Luke was 11 and Elsa was 4 months old. Having tossed the idea of flying anyone from one coast to the other we had a drive across country to get done. The idea itself was daunting; leaving me with a huge question mark about the whole thing. How would it turn out, would it be better or worse than I anticipated? Well as it turned out it was about what I thought; better in some ways and much worse in others.
When I think of my life at this time last year it is vastly different than now. I never thought there would be a time that I'd only have two dogs. After the loss of my two very old girls there was much to think about with regards to my now shrunken pack. Do we add a third? If so when? My final decision about a third was made out of a desire to give Elsa her due time. Funny how things in life change you. I have always had at least three or more dogs and I love having lots of dogs. But now I like that I can take my two with me more often. I like having more time for these two and frankly after taking care of two very old girls; one with Vestibular and the other with severe dementia, I needed a break.
The 6 months at the end of 2011 and the first 6 of 2012 are not ones I'd do over again. I'm glad they are behind me and look forward to moving onward. But as I look back as most of us do; there is much to be learned in life, even the crappy parts. Some days I really need to think about those months; then there are days that I cannot allow those thoughts to drag me down.
As you all know or most of you know I am now back in California after a very tumultuous adventure. It is now that I am thinking of my girls even more. They were with me last year at this time and now that I am settled again I have the time to reflect. I miss them desperately; but the life we had together was a long one and I have to remind myself that not everyone gets to spend so many years with their canine companions. They remain in my heart and those of you who got to know them as well through my blogs and book.
I clearly remember a day last fall when I was sitting with my four in the family room. Not wanting to think about the change in my pack that would inevitably come, I did. I couldn't imagine life without Tilley and Jessie, I just couldn't. They had been with me for so long, lived through a great many adventures with me, by my side. But as life does, it goes on and I have adjusted as all those who live with dogs must.
Book one, the first part of those crappy months is done and out PBJ and me. The cross country adventure with my son and our four dogs. Book two And Back Again is in the works and will be out next year sometime. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," I truly believe that.