June 1st, 2007


mixed emotions: dressing up for lunch and thoughts on adjusting from one dog to the next

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Last night, a support froup was held for people who had had previous dogs from here or from other schools. I almost did not go--I thought that I had done a reasonable job of working through my emotions about Meg's retirement and making room in my heart for Loretta, as evidenced by my intense love at first site and recognition of her excellent work and ability to bond with me. I was wrong about my success in working through my emotions about Meg, and I'm glad that I went. Michele Drolet led the group, and she began by reading a poem written by a graduate who had come here from another school about the transition from one dog to another. When she got to the part about it hurting the dog to work, I started to sob--and I am crying as I write this. It brought back all the feelings I had over the months of wondering if Meg could make it, not knowing how much pain she was in, and finally seeing her react so confusedly when she needed to go around a person after starting Phenobarbitol. I really felt that her last few precious weeks were stolen from me and from her, and it was not fair to either of us. Sitting in that group, I was overwhelmed with the urge to get on the floor, hug her, and bury my face in her side and tell her I'm sorry, tell me I'm sorry. I don't know that I will ever lose that urge. I don't know that I will ever lose the idea that she should have graduated seminary with me. There are people here who worked dogs until they were eleven. Meg woill have just turned ten in 2010, when I will be looking at graduation. Why did it have to be like this?

i love Loretta, and in time everything will be all right. I don't understand how grief and love can go hand in hand. There is no way to describe i tto someone who has not experienced it. It's not like grieving a death or a divorce, putting a child up for adoption, etc. I am losing a companion who has been a part of me; and as I learn to accept a new one with open arms, I must somehow cope with the feelings of loss and related emotions. I often feel a tremendous sense of guilt when I am purely accepting of the new companion, as if I am betraying the previous one. I remember Meg becoming upset the first time I left without her... She climbed on my air hockey table, and Alexis had to take her in another room for the next few times. Was she angry at me? Or is that too much humanization? Perhaps she was just disoriented by the change. Who am I to assume anything about what Meg feels? If I lavish praise on Loretta, when does Meg get such praise?

I called Mom and asked her to put me on speaker phone so that I could talk to Meg. She did, and I said a bunch of things to Meg. Meg wagged and sniffed and snuffled in the phone, and Mom said she sat up like she was listening. It felt good to say, "You're a good girl, Meg," even though I couldn't touch her.

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