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An Anniversary Reminder to Love Fearlessly

Posted in: Blog by amy on August 18, 2015

One year ago today, I was at Tails of Hope with tears streaming down my face. Our dog Gus died suddenly, at the age of two, just the previous day. The doctors said he had an anaphylactic reaction to a bee sting. I was still unable to wrap my head around his sudden departure and had not been able to stop crying for 24 hours straight. My boyfriend Marc had insisted that we help ourselves and our family to heal by opening our hearts to another dog in need of a home. And, there was Cosmo, waiting to be loved. Waiting to be embraced. Waiting to meet his forever family. One look at his long, floppy ears and sweet face and I knew he was a fit for our family.

I needed Cosmo, and he needed me. And, just like that, I opened up my heart again. I took on the risk that comes with loving another living being — that risk of extreme pain and sadness that can hit you when you don’t even see it coming … when you’re just out for a Sunday morning walk. I felt so vulnerable then. I still feel vulnerable today.

But, today is the one-year anniversary of Cosmo’s presence in our home. And, I have been celebrating. I have been dancing with him. Likely, I appeared a bit crazy to my children as I lifted Cosmo and danced and sang. Yet, I am not just celebrating his one-year anniversary in our home. I am celebrating our ability to move forward. I am celebrating the heart’s ability to heal. I am celebrating the vulnerability of life, which gives us the strength to love in a big way, for we never know what the next moment may bring.

Of course, it’s a risk to love again. It always is. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about loving a friend or a partner or a spouse or a parent or a pet. When you let your barriers down and allow yourself to truly become attached, it is a great risk. How many times have people broken up with or been hurt by a lover and thought that they will never love again? How many times have people been hurt by a friend and feared counting on another friend again? How many times have people gotten so excited by the prospect of something just to be let down?

While there is no better feeling than loving, I also believe there is no worse feeling than losing love. Wouldn’t it be easier to avoid getting attached again? The answer for me, clearly, was no. As a matter of fact, not only did I immediately fall in love with Cosmo, but we all recently decided to dive deeper into our hearts and take in a third dog from the rescue shelter.

Laughing and loving our new, sweet Payton

As I said, I love in a big way. If I’m going to open up my heart and my home to these dogs, I’m going to do it right. I’m going to love them fearlessly and fiercely! I learned that lesson from Gus. Even though he had such a short time in our home and on this earth, I’m proud to say that every day in our home was full of tail-wagging fun.

As Gus’ demise still causes me pain today, I am aware of the fact that his loss was symbolic for me. And maybe his loss was also cathartic in a way, too. I lost my father suddenly when I was 21. I lost my dearest friend suddenly when we were just 32. Sudden losses. Both of them. Those experiences knocked me off my feet. I know that Gus brought up those tremendous feelings of loss. Yet, always, I move forward and love again.

My warm, loving step father (who I call Papa) came into my life 25 years ago, and I have become attached to him as if he were my own father. Another risk, certainly. Yet, just the other night as we were all out for dinner, my Papa and I gave each other a hug good night. We each stood on the sidewalk and just held onto one another. Nothing was said. But, we were so present in that moment. The hug was all that existed. The love and connection we felt for each other circled around us, blanketing us in comfort and strength.

Because of Gus, I hug my sweet Cosmo more. Because of Gus, we recently opened our home to a third dog, our treasured Payton. Because of Gus, we savor every moment with our first dog Duke.

Yet, on this one-year anniversary of Cosmo entering our lives, I am focused on what he has given us. Because of Cosmo, we all learned how important and wonderful it is to get a rescue dog again. Because of Cosmo, I spend more time scratching all three dogs’ bellies and absorbing each amazing moment with them. Because of Cosmo, I am reminded of the cycle of life, with all of its inherent pain and joy. Because of Cosmo, I hold everyone a little bit tighter. So, happy anniversary to this warm, loving creature who is a gift to us all and a reminder to make each moment full of love, connection and tail-wagging good times.

My daughter Danielle's first meeting with Payton - Love at first sight!

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2 Responses to “An Anniversary Reminder to Love Fearlessly”

  1. Jamie Pollack says:

    I love this!!!!

  2. coco rosen says:

    i love payton and all of your dogs

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