Life. It happens. Sometimes it’s great. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get up in the morning. I can honestly say that for the last two years and up until February, I’d never been happier. For the first time in my life, everything just fell into place. Perfect doesn’t do it justice.
Now, those who follow me know that I love animals, even though as a child I was afraid of horses and dogs (that’s changed). I saved ladybugs, adored cats, and when I was little even went so far as to rescue an ant hill by relocating it to my dresser drawer before my mother watered the garden. Not much has changed these days. I’d likely go up to a bear in the wilderness and give it a hug. I mean, if you tell the bear you love it and think it’s beautiful, it won’t eat you, right? Ha, wishful thinking. Anyway, back to my point. I don’t have children and never will. I have dogs and cats and I love them with all my heart. In April, I lost my baby girl to cancer.
Nearly nine years ago, my husband bought me a puppy for my birthday. We named her Juneau and she was the sweetest thing to ever live on this planet and had enough energy to power three major cities. She was mine. She laid at my feet when I wrote, cooked, or stood anywhere. She followed me around the house, and much to my husband’s disapproval, she slept in our bed, sprawled out next to me, lying her head on my arm. What I loved most was when she would read with me. She’d get up on the couch, rest her head on a pillow I’d prop up for her, and sleep for hours while I blew through book after book.
In February, our vet discovered two racket ball size tumors in her intestines. After a risky surgery, we found out they were cancerous. Her decline after the surgery was rapid. She never was herself afterward. She didn’t sleep on the bed, she didn’t follow me everywhere, and she didn’t read with me. Those two months were incredibly hard. My reading dwindled to maybe a book a week and time for writing went out the door. It was a full-time job just finding foods she’d eat. I think every person who loves and owns animals has had that one pet that meant more than any of the others. You made a bond with it, it was your favorite, and the loss was horribly painful. For me, that was Juneau.
After her passing, I had weeks where reading just made me cry. To add lemon to the cut, our other dog was beyond depressed. He stopped eating and moped around the house, just like me. Juneau and Comet were inseparable since their first meeting seven years ago.
Now the house was too quiet. Too calm. Too … sad. So, my husband and I decided that two puppies were just what we needed. As of last Friday, we welcomed two new additions to our family. Adok (the boy lying on his back) and Denali (the little girl smiling for the camera).
Those who have read my book might recognize the name Adok. It’s actually our first dog’s name spelled backward. Koda was the first dog I ever had and she made quite an impression on me. Needless to say, I’ll never live in a dog-less household again. We always said we’d name the first boy puppy we got Adok, and so we did.
I don’t think the hole Juneau left will ever be filled, but at least the house is hectic again and I’m laughing. The only downside to these crazy new additions is the amount of time it takes to train and watch a puppy, not to mention two. They always seem to be into something. It’s definitely put a damper on my writing and even the amount of reading I can get through in a week. Good news is I’m about 3/4 done with book three in the Keeper of Arden series. Then I’ll move on to editing, which will take a few months before I send it off to an editor. My dreams of having it published by summer have been squashed, but I’m determined to get it out this year. Then I’ll move on to book four, the final one for the series.
All that happened is the reason you’ve seen my posts drop from twice a week down to once. And it’s probably the reason I’m a bit more grumpy when reading and haven’t found a new series/book I’m obsessed with for some time. Eventually I’ll perk up again and be more content with reading by myself. But for now, I miss Juneau’s company and it’s going to take me a very long time before I don’t feel that loss every time I pick up a book.