It had been seven months since my Milo passed. Seven long, empty, cold months. People say I can be dramatic when I write, but I'm not being dramatic here- anyone who has lost a pet knows that feeling- The After, I call it. The absolute emptiness in the house (especially if you have no other pets), the silence, that aching, longing that just never goes away. I knew I could not live my life without a dog beside me again, yet at the same time, it just didn’t seem to be in the cards for me. I had visited a bunch of shelters, talked to numerous rescue groups, gone to adoption events and had high hopes for a local JRT breeder (she was awesome, and so were her dogs). None of the dogs I encountered seemed right for me or my family and the breeder didn't have any dogs available. So I figured I would wait. Wait and see. Wait, wait, wait.

My heart was still broken anyway.

February 2, 2014 would have been Milo’s 15th birthday. I spent the day lying on the couch.  I was so depressed I didn’t even want to get up. And then I got a text from my sister: ‘Someone wants to meet you,’ she said.  She sent me this photo:

She was down in Hamilton visiting a dog named Spot who was up for adoption with a group called Res-Q-Pets. I was angry. It was Milo’s birthday, I didn’t want to be thinking of another dog! But then she sent me a video.

There were a lot of details in between and a lot of protesting on my part, but eventually I agreed to go and meet the puppy (mostly so my sister would leave me alone and just let me be sad). I remember that rainy drive down to see the puppy- I was terrified. I kept praying to Milo to help us make the right decision, to help me know if this dog was right for us. But as soon as I saw Spot I knew. I just knew he was meant to be ours, just like I knew Milo was the right dog for me almost 15 years ago.

Now my house is filled with dog toys (they are everywhere!). I have to get up early in the morning and take walks twice a day. I go to dog training classes. I rush home when I am out too long, because I know that puppy is home waiting for me. And I love it. I love every last, puppy-filled minute of it. I won’t lie, the pain of Milo’s loss is still with me. I still miss him every single day. But learning to love Spot gave me new direction. It filled an emptiness here, and it reminded me that life goes on. Milo would’ve wanted that, too.

There is a song I know called ‘Caught in the Sun’ that always makes me think of Spot. You know when the sun shines in your eyes for a moment, and you lose your bearings just for that split second? Sometimes I feel that way about Spot- how easy it would have been to have missed him, to have chosen a different direction, and how very lost and lonely my life would be without him. Finding him has made all the difference in this journey. All the difference.

I could've passed you on the street
without saying a word.
Most times I miss the voice,
it goes unheard

What if I missed you?
You got caught in the sun
What if I did something?
Never to be undone

Faces everywhere how could I be sure
If it's you that I have been looking for
What would it take for me to be comfortable
With you, with me you're the chosen one