By Lynda Shadbolt
Published June 30, 2020
I spent the last year listening to my brain. I kept reinforcing the many reasons why I know I shouldn’t get another dog. I swore after Bella died I would never go through losing another animal ever again. I made lists. My friends helped to remind me why a dog is a lot of work. I purposely didn’t look at other dogs for the year. No eye contact. No petting. I ignored the flutters in my heart when people told me stories about their dogs. I really did try. And I was convinced there would not be another dog in our family.
And then my strategy began to fall apart in February when we looked after my brother-in-law’s dog, Charlee, for a week. As hard as I tried, my heart took over. I fell in love with her. I walked her three times a day, I spent the week grooming her and I took her to friends for walking adventures. It was a beautiful winter week when the sun shined for five days and I was in heaven. Charlee is affectionate, friendly and content and I was so happy having her in our house. I am a happier person when I have a dog in my life. It’s just the way I am wired. My heart was wide open! I remembered all the reasons why I am a good dog owner, why I love dogs and my heart won over my brain!
The search for a puppy began. Well, first I had to convince my husband and of course my daughter was already on my side and she started researching right away. It took us a while, and we had a few challenges but on May 5, Madeline and I drove to pick up our eight-week-old golden retriever who we named Billie Rose. As I write this article she is now 15 weeks old and I am so in love with her, and she is a lot of work.
We’ve had two golden puppies in the last 25 years and yet I seemed to have forgotten about the early mornings, the constant chewing because of the puppy teeth, the house training, and the general training that takes a lot of time and effort. But it is all OK. Billie is totally worth it. My family is completely on board and because of the pandemic we have the extra time to spend with her.
I was nervous about our kitty, Luna, and how she would respond to the new puppy but I needn’t have worried. Within a week they were best buddies and spend their days chasing each other around the house and boxing with their paws. Both animals bring a lot of energy, delight, laughter and silliness into our home. I walk more again. I am outside more. Already we have lots of stories about them. There is a balance between listening to your brain, which tends to be more logical, and your heart, which tends to be more emotional. We need both of these centres of intelligence in us to live a full life. I’ve always been the kind of girl to follow my heart and now I’ll spend many years following Billie through the woods, down the trails and on many adventures. She is the sweetest puppy ever.