When we said goodbye to Karlie, I didn’t realize it was the end of an era and the life we had. We had lived with Anna and/or Karlie for the previous 14 years. With the passing of Karlie, it ended our life with “the girls”. It was incredibly difficult for me to deal with. Although I never suffered from depression, the days, weeks, and months afterwards made me feel like I might be depressed. I felt completely empty inside and had an overriding sadness. I knew we made the right decision to say goodbye, but I felt lost without her. Losing her was the hardest and saddest thing I’ve ever experienced. I wondered if I would ever love another dog again. I wondered if it’s okay to love again.
To try to get over the sadness, we decided to adopt a three month old puppy just two short weeks after saying goodbye to Karlie. I hoped she would help distract me and make me feel better, but adopting her didn’t. Despite how adorable, fun, and energetic Sunny is, she made me miss Karlie more.
Despite not being ready to adopt Sunny when we did, I am so glad we did. Sadly, it took over six months for me to finally have room in my heart for her. That’s not to say she was neglected or that I didn’t try. I felt guilty for trying to love her, for missing Karlie, for doing the things we did with Karlie with Sunny, for letting Sunny play with Karlie’s toys, for the sadness I felt over Karlie, and more. There was so much guilt, confusion, and sadness mixed together. What I’ve learned is it takes time. Time to heal, time to get used to a new normal, and time to love, but it’s okay to take that time and it’s okay to love again.
The amount of time for this process is different for everyone. I’ve said goodbye to furry family members before and the process has been different each time. This time was the hardest. I know I will truly never be “over” Karlie. She and I have been through a lot together and no one will truly fill the hole left in my heart by her. Despite that I am ready and willing to start building new memories and a new life while fondly remembering the old one. Loving again doesn’t diminish my love for Karlie. And I finally know it’s okay to love again. I feel like I am passing on a great legacy to Sunny and I know Karlie is looking down on us with that huge smile of hers.