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I know a lot of people around here have lost many dogs over the years.  Luna was my first dog as an adult and DH's first dog.  We weren't sure how it would go getting a new dog.  Would she be a good dog?Would we love her as much?  So many doubts - but lots of hope that she would fill the void in our lives caused by Luna's passing.

As the holidays near, Riley grows and our new baby is due in a few short weeks... the loss of our beautiful Luna is on my mind.  

Luna came home about a month after we moved into our first home, she was there for the birth of our daughter and was always such a sweet, gentle soul (barring the "land shark" puppy phase of course lol). She left us way earlier than we expected, right as I found out I was pregnant with our second child.  It has been hard knowing that she won't be there with her gentle ways as our new baby comes home.  We also just moved into a brand new house and we are sad that she didn't get to live in our big new house.

After getting Riley I quickly realized she is a very different dog - but what surprised me about it is how familiar things still felt.  It's hard to describe but it's like the "dog"-ness is the same.  The goofy ways, the quizzical looks, the affection, the companionship, it's packaged up very differently in Riley but the essence of "dog" is there.

I am already madly in love with Riley.  The love doesn't run as deep as it did with Luna but it will grow with time.  Loving Riley comes with guilt - guilt that I am loving Riley so much...  I don't know why I feel guilty about it but I do.  DH and I talked about it the other day - how we love Riley but it's just not the same.  It will never be the same; Luna was and will forever be our first dog together and she was amazing.  

I've come to the conclusion that it's ok to love a new dog as much as a previous dog - it's like having more than one child... you love them as much but it's a different love - a new love that needs time to grow and find its place in your heart.

What are your thoughts about getting new dogs and your new relationship with them?

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We have had many dogs over the years, and we love each one differently. We do have a couple that stand out more than the others, but we didn't love anyone less. Right now we have two that couldn't be more different. Kona is so quiet and gentle that we trip on him pretty often because we have no idea he is in the room (and he's almost black). I find myself looking for him because he is so quiet. Owen is white and is a nut case. He is exuberant about everything! We always know exactly where he is!!! When he wants to be petted he is merciless in his pestering. Kona stands a few feet away waiting to be invited in for a cuddle. Owen barks like a mad-man (a trait I have curbed but it is still his inclination) Kona lets out one warning bark and then its over. The thing that I find to be the same about all of our dogs is their unconditional love. They want to please and be with us and offer so much to our lives. Dogs are the best ever. 

I think Owen and Riley share some common features ;)  She is vocal and demanding and very clingy.   

Luna was a lot more cat-like in her demands for attention :p

I am so sorry for your loss and as I read through all the losses others have endured. I spent a year and a half vacillating on whether to get a Labradoodle because of the some day loss. It was a huge struggle. I finally decided that its part of life and if I didn't get her, I would miss the years of joy with her. So Yarra came to me from Australia on Sept 13, 2006 and when we went over to QANTAS, ME BEING A NERVOUS WRECK; the the puppy porters took me to her crate and she gently stepped out, I picked her up, held her close and said "oh I love you so much". That was it! She is my first dog and my heart dog; we have an uncanny bond. She became a very good agility dog for years until I blew out my knees. Currently she's a therapy dog and has arthritis in her back legs, her visual perception is not as sharp but she and her little sister have their "Clash of the Titans" several times a day. Until Yarra I never thought it was possible to feel the way I do about a dog. She will be 13 next year and I've had discussions with her that she owes us more years with her.

When she was 3 1/2, after fostering some Doodles, we decided on #2. I actually went to Australia after my litter was born and I knew which puppy would be mine and spent 3 weeks with her as much as I could. Yothu Yindi (called Yindi) is 9 and a little stinker and gets into trouble at least once a day.....but both of them are wonderful and I spend lots of time with both. They get along perfectly and my desire is to treasure every moment with them. 

I shed tears for every Doodle I hear of who goes to the Bridge. But while I worry about the loss, I instantly transfer the worry for the joy of being in their lives all these years.

I'm glad you wrote this. I really still struggle with how much I miss Ava. I love my girls. They are so sweet and special, and I'm so proud of Maggie and how far she's come since she's been here. But I want Ava. Every single day. There is really no way to describe the relationship I had with her. She was my kid. And here lately I can't get my mind off just one more dog. I don't need another dog. In some ways it wouldn't be fair to anyone to bring another dog home, and my finances wouldn't be all that excited about a third dog who needs to be groomed every 6 weeks. But I can't stop thinking about it.

A very wise friend of mine told me that I was trying to fill an Ava sized hole, and I could have 500 dogs and I would still be looking for her. I don't know how to fix that empty space. I just want to rewind time and fix her. But I still keep thinking maybe just one more dog? 

Substitute "Jack" for "Ava" and you have just perfectly described the way I feel. Especially this part: " I was trying to fill an Ava sized hole, and I could have 500 dogs and I would still be looking for her. "

Thank you for putting that into words for me; it's a feeling, a state of being actually, that I didn't know how to describe. But you nailed it.  

Hugs to you. I know you feel the same way I do. What I wouldn't give to have both of our babies back. 

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