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Why I gave Emma back

There’s an old saying that goes “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” This is especially true with animals. The four-legged love of my Nikki life passed away last year. I wish he were here every day.

There’s an old saying that goes “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” This is especially true with animals. The four-legged love of my life, Nikki, passed away last year. I wish he were here every day.

My dad always said “Nikki was an angel from heaven.” It’s true. My dog, Nikki, was a fluffy white Great Pyrenees with a larger than life personality. Nikki was my pal and he followed me everywhere. He had an endless amount of love in his heart to give. “The gentle giant” as he was known in my neighborhood, everyone who met Nikki loved him and he would love them right back.

I’ve heard people say that the only problem with dogs is that they don’t live forever. If you’ve ever experienced the death of a pet, it’s one of the hardest things to go through. Years after they’re gone, you miss the annoying things like being woken up in the middle of the night for ice water or finding pet hair in the most random places. I still find items of his that he hid around the house. When I come home, I expect to see Nikki greet me at the front door excited with his big tail wagging and a big smile – but he’s not there.

Before Nikki passed away, I watched my cousin lose her beloved Basset Hound, Lola. She was distraught and inconsolable for the first couple months. It wasn’t easy, but as time helps to heal wounds, she was ready to adopt a new Blue Healer puppy, Mosley, about a year later.

Mosley is a beautiful dog with a sweet personality and lots of energy. He brings so much joy to my cousin and her family. When he was a puppy I gave him some of Nik Niks old toys. To this day, when I see Mosley, he will bring Nikki’s toys, now his, and get me to play with him. It’s comforting, heartwarming and sad all at the same time. I don’t know why, but dogs just know things, sometimes better than humans.

For a few months, I had been looking for a puppy. Even though they require a lot of attention, grooming, and vacuuming up after, I love the Great Pyranese breed. I once read “you don’t choose your dog, they choose you.” After looking and meeting other dogs, I found a puppy named Emma that needed to be re-homed. I met her and I fell in love. She cuddled right up to me and wanted to play. She is a sweet dog that reminded me of Nikki in many ways, but with her own sassy attitude.

I decided I needed to take her home. Her previous owner didn’t want to see her go, but she had some ongoing health issues that pet dander intensified. Naturally, she wanted Emma to go to a good home and wanted the best for her pup. I promised I would love Emma, spoil her and give her the best life ever.

Her previous owner and I shared exchanges the entire first night I had her. I wanted to learn as much about the dog as I could so the transition could be as smooth as possible and easy for her. After all, Emma would probably have confusion and anxiety of missing her old family, their children and her doggy brother and sister. I don’t know what she was experiencing, but I do know that dogs are creatures of habit.

Emma, the lover that she is, stayed by my side. She had a few accidents in the house, but I’m guessing she was nervous and not used to her new environment. She refused to go upstairs, so I slept in the guest bedroom with her on the first floor. Everything seemed to be going well until I was woken up at midnight with some wrestling in the kitchen. Emma had gotten her treats off the counter. “No Emma.” I hid them on the top shelve of a cabinet and we went back to bed.

Fast forward to 1 a.m. I smelled an unpleasant smell – another accident. I took her outside and cleaned up. After letting her back in, we went back to bed. I was half asleep when I heard her running around in circles in the house. She had chewed up a box of Kleenex and many other dog toys in the living room. Now she had a bone in her mouth and was running and jumping on the couches and knocking things over. What happened to the sweet, cuddly, shy puppy I met this afternoon? After about 45 mins of this, she calmed down and we went back to sleep. Phew!

Her previous owner texted me the next morning to see how Emma was doing. I told her of the fiasco and she assured me the dog had never once had an accident or jumped up on the counters. She then proceeded to ask me if I intended on keeping the dog. Of course! This dog was an angel, despite a few mishaps. Moving homes had to be a traumatic experience for Emma, but I promised I’d give her love and make her as comfortable as possible.

A couple hours later she texted me again. She just wanted to make sure 100 percent that I wanted to keep her. Then it hit me. She missed her puppy and regretted giving her up. I couldn’t imagine what must have been swirling around her mind. I asked her, “If I did give her back, would you keep her or re-home her?” She replied, “Keep her.” I then replied, “What time would you like Emma to come home?”

Emma went back to the family that missed her, and the family that she missed. I knew if I kept her, I wouldn’t be able live with the guilt of knowing where she truly belonged. It broke my heart to think that those kids missed her so much and wanted her home. I know what it’s like to miss an animal and the void in one’s life when that animal is gone because of Nikki. I do miss Emma, but I know her family is better off with her in their lives.

Emma’s mom texted me, “I need to learn not to make a permanent decision for a temporary emotion.” Very fitting. I think we can benefit from this logic now and again in our everyday lives. Life is about learning and the greatest lessons can come from the mistakes we make. I’m pretty sure Emma forgave her mom and it’s my hope that Emma’s mom forgave herself and will love on Emma even more now that she’s home. As for me, I will continue my quest to find a new puppy. After all, I did splurge on a bunch of dog accessories that can’t be returned. (Anything can be returned –  even a dog.)

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings

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