Our hearts still break when we think of our perfect dog Jigga. Putting her to rest was one of the hardest things we have had to face as a family. Jigga was kind, friendly, protective, rarely barked, house trained, and trusting. If it had been up to most of us, we would have continued dog-free and relished the memories of the best-dog-ever, but Mowgli loves animals. ADD making it harder for him to develop solid friendships, he enjoys the unconditional love of a pet.
Thus Mowgli approached me one afternoon declaring “two things.” Affirming to him that I understood the first to be, “I love you, Grandma,” Mowgli modified the list to three things.
After the obligatory “I love you, Grandma”, followed by a request for some minor mending, Mowgli perched enthusiastically beside me to share a photo of a dog in a rescue shelter. Nieves was her name, meaning “snow” in Spanish. A discussion emphasizing that we would start looking but would not be bringing home a dog immediately did not quell Mowgli’s excitement as we made plans to visit the pound the next day.
The next morning, tasks completed, I called Mowgli to get ready to go. “I’ve been ready for hours!” this boy announced. So Mike, Mowgli and I set off for Halo Rescue. Although there were few dogs in residence, we couldn’t locate Nieves, but then eyed her in the playroom with two smaller dogs. Her extended basset body was curled on the floor allowing her playmates to crawl on, off, and around her. Good sign – she likes other dogs.
Although we had to encourage Mowgli to engage in play, it was apparent that he was in love. Our earlier conviction that we would not be bringing a dog home immediately dissolved. Paperwork completed, Mowgli carried Nieves out the door (she wouldn’t walk through doorways) and into the car where the two bonded immediately. Nieves, now Luna, was worshiped Mowgli ever since.
It has been less than two weeks. Luna has learned to use the doggy door, is getting house-broken, and is becoming less skittish. Her teeth marks on a chair leg remind us that she is still a puppy. But she captures our hearts when she begs to be cuddled.
I have no doubt that Luna will become a trusty member of the family. But she will never replace Jigga. It seems objects of our love form cavities perfectly shaped in our hearts. When the object of that love is gone, the hole retains the shape which we can try to fill with other objects, but the fit is never exact. It is best to let the memories fill the hole. It reminds me of the reference to a God-shaped hole. So Luna will form new hollows in our hearts. The beauty of our capacity for love is that it is endless.