The afternoon of April First found me sitting on 3 layers of blankets on the floor surrounded by puppies who were just four weeks old – I was in my happy place!
In a fenced-in space the size of a nice walk-in closet, Lexi, Zane and I were surrounded by 7 wriggly Mini Australian shepherd puppies, two small pet crates, a webcam laptop sitting on a stool, a fake grass puppy bathroom, and a couple dozen plastic Easter eggs. We savored the new puppy smell and the sharp teeth tugging on our clothes and fingers and toes.
Our family is one step closer to being ready for new dog. We’ve been playing with lots of dogs, talking about a new dog, and envisioning our future with a new dog in our family.
Interspersed with these hopeful signs are the still-present feelings of loss and grieving that come up when we think and talk about Iko. We still cry. We still want her back, but we are ready to take the next step forward. And, we comfort ourselves, she said she would return to us in a new dog body.
But, as Lexi said to me yesterday, it will never be the same as having Ikie here with us. It will be different. Yes, it will not be the same, I agreed. And we silently hugged each other as that sunk in.
Maybe like us, you are getting ready to welcome a new pet into your home and family. The pre-pet phase seems to be accompanied by a vague longing, feeling something is missing, or feeling empty. These feelings are connecting you to your next step, to your future, to the next soul to enter your life. You will fall in love again soon!
As you look for your perfect match, please gather lots of information to help you make your decision. Start by clarifying what you want – big or small, active or mellow, dog or cat, etc. Have lots of conversations with your family members, friends and roommates about your decision. Ask people about their experience and knowledge – you might get a whole new perspective that helps you a lot. And, of course, research the different breeds so you are sure you understand their needs, strengths and weaknesses. Believe me, we’ve been doing all these things for several months now. (Neighbors drop by or stop me on the streets to tell me about a dog they think might be a fit for our family!)
Part of my process when making a decision this big is to ask for guidance and pay attention to my intuition. Intuition can be subtle but it can also be obvious but overlooked.
Here is how my intuition has been showing up: We love the dogs and people at Too Mini Aussies and have been hoping that one of the pups would be a good fit for us, but when we visited the puppies yesterday, there was no ‘click,’ no feeling like “I can’t live without that dog” or “I just need to hold this pup” or anything like that even though we loved and enjoyed them all and want to visit again this weekend.
Then Margo pulled up some of her friends’ websites to show us some other available puppies and when Lexi and I saw Dazzle – click! We both fell in love! All of a sudden, I couldn’t follow the conversation because I couldn’t wait to get home and email the breeder. I even worried that by the time I got home (a ten-minute bike ride), someone else would have claimed MY dog! (We are oging to visit this weekend to see if the magic is still there...)
So, here’s the intuitive tool to use when you are making any kind of decision about anything: think of each option one at a time and notice how your body feels and responds physically. If you lean toward the choice or feel or excited, it’s a ‘yes.’ If you pull back or feel tight or heavy, it’s a ‘no.’ This is not a judgment of any of the choices (believe me, all those puppies are fantastic!) but more a way to find the energetic “fit” that is right for you.
This is how Chris and I decided to move to Chico nearly 10 years ago, how we choice the house we live in now, and how I chose to leave my teaching job to start my own business. The more you practice, the easier it is to recognize your inner ‘yes’ and ‘no.’
If you are choosing a new pet (or making any decision), try this technique out for yourself. If you’d like help, I would love to support you with my Pet Matching Service.
If you want to see the adorable puppies that we played with, you can view their puppycam at www.toominiaussies.com.
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Please share your experience with choosing a pet or finding your inner guidance in the comments – I’d love to hear what you’re up to!
And remember, trust your gut – it knows better than you do!