Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Grief and Balm

Author Dean Koontz wrote about his grief after his golden retriever Trixie died. One day, he and his wife were walking and saw a perfect golden butterfly flying by. That butterfly sighting left them feeling at peace, as if the butterfly carried a message to them that Trixie was fine and they would be, too. 

When our golden retriever Hoover died, we told him to send us a golden butterfly, and he sent us Daisy. She was our golden butterfly for 11 years. 

In the week and a half she's been gone, the longest I've made it without crying is 24 hours. She's been by far the hardest of our dogs to grieve for. Cooper is grieving, too. After the first few days, he became mopey and sad. 

Friends of my son sent us this message:

We heard that you had lost your precious Daisy and wanted you to know that we are very sad for your loss. Many times the loss of a pet is the hardest of all as we know that they always expect their humans to make it all better and usually we can...until we cannot. Our final takeaway from them after all of their years of giving us their absolute all every minute of their short lives is that we were always in their best place to possibly be when they were with us. We were their everything and the most excellent life we lived with them is all they wanted. Their true Heaven was here on earth with us. Now, go get a puppy!

We are taking their advice. Meet our new golden butterfly.

My husband wanted a new puppy ASAP, and I contacted Cooper's breeder. She informed me that a female became available from a litter that's ready to go to their new homes this weekend. She's cuddly, sweet, and not an alpha pup. 

Miss Lilac (so-called for the color of ribbon she wears to distinguish her from her littermates) is coming to live with us the weekend after next. (This weekend is Jack's high school puppy should have to deal with that chaos!) 

Neither George nor I can picture ourselves yelling "Lilac!!!" to call her inside, so the short list of possible names includes Clover, Lily, and Magnolia. Lily is the frontrunner, simply because it's close to Lilac and might cause her less confusion. I prefer Clover because it has "love" in the middle, and George likes Magnolia because we can call her Maggie for everyday and Magnolia (with a southern accent) when we're mad at her.

It's hard right now to imagine EVER being mad at that sweet face, but after she widdles on my shoes and chews a pillow to pieces, we just might raise our voices. 

A new dog never, ever replaces a dog in our hearts. The gaping hole left by Daisy will take a very long time to heal. But little Clover/Lily/Maggie will wiggle her way into our hearts and lives in her own uniquely golden way. 

Grief is love with nowhere to go, and I think Daisy, who was the embodiment of fur-covered love, will appreciate us pouring the love she can't receive right now into this new puppy. 

Cooper will have a playmate again. 

And Daisy will wait for us like the good dog she was, is, and forever will be. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and most of all love,



  1. I don't know whether to smile or cry with you. So bittersweet! Clover, Lily, or Magnolia, you are one lucky pup!

  2. The more you love, the more you realize just how much more love you have to give. Daisy would want her family to be happy and bringing this adorable pup into your home will bring back some of the joy and laughter you shared with Daisy. I'm sure she'll keep Cooper on his toes. Hopefully this means a lot more doggy photos on your blog.

  3. Both with humans and our animals, the greater the love the greater the loss that is felt. This is one lucky puppy to have your family give her love and receive her love!

  4. I am so very sorry. You gave Daisy a glorious life. I bet she's thinking, "Now I've trained you to be even better family for your new, wiggly pup."

  5. Well, that brought me to tears...very well said. Can hardly wait to hear which name you choose...I'm rooting for Maggie!

  6. what a lovely blog entry. Enjoy your new golden butterfly - whatever name you give her (or she picks).

  7. My heart goes out to you and your family. Daisy sure had a good home with you all! The puppy should be fun! I vote for Maggie too. My granddaughter graduates tonight...congrats to your son.

  8. Susan... I am so happy a new bundle of joy is coming into your life. It will make all the difference.

  9. Oh my goodness! Look at her sweet, sweet face! Goldens have the sweetest faces. I hope you share lots of pictures when she comes to your home. I'm always partial to pet names that end in -y/ie because they are so interchangeable with "Sweetie," and I usually call my pets that in addition to their names.

    Congratulations to Jack on his graduation! I can't believe he's already graduating--time flies! All the best to you and your family!


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