When pain enters your life. Part I

I recently wrote a post called Beauty from Darkness–when darkness enters our lives, we have a choice to make. Let it consume us, or create something with it. These past few weeks have tested that for me. As you may (or may not have) noticed, I’ve been on hiatus for about two weeks. Vacation. Celebrated our four year anniversary along the coast of Southern California. Relaxed, ate, enjoyed. And, bought a puppy.

I’ve wanted a dog ever since I can remember. Something adorably cuddly that would love me unconditionally. Follow me wherever I go. Distract me from anxiety and nerves. It’s been my dream. An obtainable one. But because my parents didn’t want the responsibility of a dog, one deferred. So, I imagined. Stuffed animals were my favorites. I obsessed over battery-powered toy animals that moved and barked and read books about mice, owls, dogs, cats. One of my favorites? Figment, Your Dog Speaking. The story–a dog named Figment enters the life of fourth grader Marcella, who lacks attention from her parents. With the help of Figment, who talks, of course, Marcella gains the affection from her parents she craves. The catch? Figment’s time with her ends. His job is done. And he tells Marcella he must move on. The ending of the book always made me cry. Always made me hurt. The thought of this dog leaving her in the end? Heartbreaking. Maybe I was too young or too selfish to see the beauty in it. Figment was never meant to help just Marcella. He was meant to help many.

These past few weeks, I met my Figment. We brought him home the last day of June. He was as adorable as eight-year-old Robin could have imagined. A plush apricot poodle come to life. His name? Ellington. Cuddly. A follower. And a welcome distraction from my current anxiety issues. (Who can focus on anything but a three-month-old puppy who’s dying to play?) But something happened. My husband began noticing wherever our dog licked him, hives appeared. And weren’t going away. We held out another day, monitoring the allergy, but even after showering, the hives persisted.

We took him for his first visit at the vet, unsure of what to do. When in walked a nurse. Her eyes fell on Ellington, and her face lit up. She’d been searching for a dog just like him. Exact color. Exact size. My husband and I exchanged glances. And we knew. This sweet puppy was meant for her. We called her that night; and the next day, he was gone.

And my heart broke.

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