Creating a New Normal

This morning I woke up and went downstairs and she wasn’t there. My Sophie, my bulldog who had been at my side almost thirteen years, wasn’t there. Her crate was gone, replaced by photos in her and her sister’s memory.


She went so fast. We received the cancer diagnosis on a Monday and by Friday at 9:15 AM she was gone. I almost hyperventilated in the car before we left the vet’s office, the tears streaming down my face, crashing onto my clothes, taking my breath away. Her eyes opened for a second when we left. She looked right at me. She said goodbye.

Reading outside with Sophie beside me.
Reading outside with Sophie beside me.

I’m having a hard time with this. My appetite is gone. My stomach hurts. My energy is gone. It’s nothing compared to the pain that’s in my heart. As each day goes by it’s a little easier to move through the moments without a memory slicing through me.

Conceptual heart of the stones in the water

The first day it was opening the dishwasher and seeing her food bowl. The next day it was coming downstairs and not having her down there waiting for me. Then it was cleaning up dinner and reacting to throw a piece of leftover meat her way and she wasn’t there. Then that first time I left and went to tell her I would be back soon realizing I was talking to air.

I miss her. Incredibly.

Sophie was almost thirteen when she crossed over Rainbow Bridge. Most people never see that kind of time with their bulldog. The average lifespan of a bulldog is about eight to ten years. Some live longer, some a lot less. They’re an awesome breed. Yes, they’re burdened with many medical issues, but there’s not a more loveable, silly dog I can name.

Sophie chillin'
Sophie chillin’

This is the problem I’m having. I can’t imagine life without a dog. I’m a dog person and I always have been. Give me a room of puppies and I’ll be happy for hours. Today I took a walk and a boxer passed me. I glanced back at him, and funny enough, he was looking at me, too. Then when I returned home, the neighbor’s dog ran over and wanted to play. I almost feel these dogs know I’ve lost a companion and they’re sending me their love.

Though I can’t visualize the next few months or year without a furry friend, I’m having a more difficult time deciding when it’s time. I went to the Humane Society and dropped off a half bag of Sophie’s food for them to use and I viewed the dogs there. Most were in their teen years and can’t be in a household with children. I’m not sure I want a puppy, but having lost my other dog Lucy two years ago and now Sophie, I don’t want a dog that I’ll be forced to say goodbye to in a few years. I think puppy to two years is good. But what breed? Bulldogs are awesome, but I honestly think it’s time to adopt from the Humane Society. Take a dog that may not otherwise have a good life and give it our home.

Sophie and Lucy as puppies. They slept like this their entire lives.
Sophie and Lucy as puppies. They slept like this their entire lives.

So I’m watching the local Humane Society website and the two that are about twenty-five miles away as well. I fell in love with a picture of a dog, Archie, who is 8 months old. I thought about going to see him, but at this particular Humane Society, I wasn’t confident he’d be there when I went. I filled out an application to adopt a dog so that way I’m in the system.

Part of me feels like I’m betraying Sophie. I’m sure this is normal. I need to create a new normal now. And I thought I could do it without the companionship of a dog, but I’m not so sure.

Sophie, know that I love you and always will and I hope you’re feasting on green beans and sausage and getting belly rubs over Rainbow Bridge. Please give Lucy my love, too.

Rainbow, clouds and bubbles

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