I know I’ve been silent on this blog for the last several weeks. The passing of our beloved Maddy shattered us. After the first few days of constant crying jags, we tried to learn to adjust without her in our lives and it was devastating. She had become such a constant in our lives that, with her gone, we truly understood the absolute silence that existed without her. Morning was our special mommy & Maddy time…. we’d go outside for a pee and then she’d eat her breakfast and sit in the kitchen, watching me intently, while I told her what the day was to bring as I made coffee and lunches. Now, I found myself alone and would collapse into great gulping sobs, finding myself hunched over, hypher-ventilating, feeling as though I’d been gut-punched.
In the evenings, where we used to be anxious to get home, Jim & I both felt lost and out of sorts. Our daily routine no longer consisted of playing fetch, walking the neighborhood, and being covered in kisses and our hearts continued to break. It was as though a huge part of us was simply gone. We tried to keep busy by furiously cleaning and organizing in the house and yard and making plans we didn’t really care about. Desperate to find an equilibrium.
The heartfelt condolences continued to pour in. My Maddy memorial blog created more of a stir than anything else I’d written. We heard from friends from both near and afar as well as many heart touching notes from complete strangers. Amy Sacks, founder of the rescue Pixie Project, sent a beautiful note thanking us for being her heroes to the end. Abby at Dove Lewis Animal Hospital called to give her condolences and ask us to lunch because she was so touched by Maddy’s story.
We had a friend’s dog come over for a BBQ, hoping having ANY fur face around would help. We babysat Jenny & Lexi, Jim’s sisters dogs, for several days, hoping the mere presence of dogs there to greet us in the evening would be a salve to our broken hearts. It didn’t work. All it did was make us miss Maddy more. Miss her smiling face, happy tail and many kisses.
After two weeks I started looking at adoption sites, the Humane Society, Pixie Project, and others. Although we were still in a state of depression, I had a feeling that the only thing, other than time, that would truly help us feel better would be to adopt another dog in need of a place to call home. Originally Jim thought it was too soon, but one day, in the midst of some very sad moments, he said “It’s time. I think we should start the search”.
On Thursday, August 30, exactly three weeks to the day that we said goodbye to Maddy, we said hello to Porter. Jim originally went to the Humane Society planning to see a dog named Jones that I’d found on their website. Instead, I got a text picture of Porter, a cute black and white guy. Jones had been busy with someone else and so Jim first checked out the number 2 dog on my list…. Porter. When I asked him if he’d ever even seen Jones he said “I don’t need to, when I hugged Porter he hugged me back”, and I knew he’d been chosen.
After work Jim headed back to the Humane society, this time with me in tow. Porter had been found near Klamath Falls the end of June and was held by animal control for two months and had been at the Humane Society for only three days when we found him. As when we adopted Maddy, we know very little about him. They suspect he’s around 7 years old. They suspect he’s a part lab/ part border collie. What we’ve learned in the last several days is that he’s excellent on the leash and he knows the command Sit “most” of the time. He’s super smart, showing off his border collie intelligence by learning very quickly that “wait” means he needs to pause at the door for us to invite him in and out. He has immediately made himself at home, curling up at Jim’s feet in the evening, sleeping through the night, and loving trips in the car.
Our sorrow has not ended. I still end up in tears often at the memories of Maddy. Porter is not here to replace her, that isn’t possible, but he has given us what we needed. New focus, new excitement, and a reason to go for a walk. He is learning us as we’re learning him. We have found he will do an adorable little dance when playing fetch with a squeekie toy and yet has no interest in fetch with a tennis ball. We have learned he does a downward dog stretch each morning, yawning in the middle, before he gets a silly little look on his face.
This coming weekend will be our first camping trip since Maddy, and there will be a different black dog along for the adventure. Does Porter like boats? Is he familiar with the beach? Can he swim? We can’t wait to find out. I recently saw something on Facebook that said ” Heaven is where all the dogs you’ve loved come to greet you”. That sure sounds like my version of heaven! Goodbye Maddy, we’ll see you again. Welcome home Porter, we look forward to the next step in the journey.