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Honoring Heart Break

This last week has been a doozy. The proverbial roller coaster of emotions. We adopted this adorable lady from the shelter. The shmooshable capability of her so soft face is beyond compare. I was thrilled because it can get lonely talking to yourself. As much as I love working from home, it can be isolating, and her company was a solace.

I expected the adjustment to be challenging as we knew of her Houdini ways and “don’t fence me in” personality. It wasn’t. She slid right into the human home like a champ. She listened well, learned three new commands, and was a potty-trained champ!

We found out she was not an experiencer of cats and all their quirks, and let’s be honest, there are tons of quirks, especially in our crew of four. Archaic one weighs five pounds with IBS and, of course, is in charge. One who hisses at anything not human, that dares to cross into her energy field, roughly six feet by six feet, has thyroid issues and questionable use of the litter box—one who is afraid of his own shadow and every other shadow out there. And finally, the champ of them all, who is sweet, gets along with everyone, and causes no stinks unless you count the dental disease he is currently treated for with multiple procedures and antibiotics.

“And you still wanted to add another sentient being to your mix?”

Yeah, I’m a little nutty that way. I love our cats, but a dog is a different companion quality. We weren’t seriously looking, but Maya became known to me, and I felt the pull to spring her from the shelter. So I did.

We adjusted. We learned about each other. We laughed at the goofiness. Melted at the sweetness and marveled at her capacity to learn. Then…we noticed her stalking, constant alerting to where the cats were, and polite, if territorial, watching of the water bowl. The water bowl that existed for them before she came along.

You guessed it. She has a strong prey drive. One that will not be trained out of her but will be well served by a home without felines, rabbits, squirrels, or anything that moves quickly. I mean, she is a terrier after all, and that is what they are known for, but I had hopes. I had dreams. I had heart investment.

“So, what does this have to do with heartbreak?”

As you may have surmised or intuited (good for you!), she had to be returned to the shelter. A fantastic place that guarantees its animals and takes them back if it doesn’t work rather than have the animal surrendered somewhere else. When I tell you I cried, I mean I CRIED. I take my commitment to animals seriously. I advocate, treat, train, offer love, and promise to do the best for them when I take them in. In this case, the best for her was to return and be adopted into a home without cats. I hear they exist, but I’ve never experienced that!

Heartbreak is something that I am careful not to use lightly. Our bodies listen to what we say and how we express ourselves. I experienced broken heart syndrome before when my late husband passed. I know the grief, and this one walloped me, too. Perhaps another layer of grieving for other experiences when this one opens the channel.

Have you had that? You know something is going to be sad, but your response to it seems more significant than the actual event. The unfurling of feelings is larger than expected. That was this weekend for me. I knew it was layered and that the only way was to feel the feelings. So I did, and I am. It’s not overnight, nor should we expect ourselves or anyone else to heal that fast.

Shortly after I posted online that she was returning, a few kind people shared other pups with me. That’s so sweet, but I had to tell them I was taking a heart break. I would reconsider adopting in the spring, but for now, the pain I was feeling deserved to have space to process, and I was not going to stuff it like I had so many times in the past.

Why do we do that? For the sake of others? The fear of vulnerability? The lack of support for our feelings in the past? I cover these and many other reasons in this week’s podcast.

When you experience your next run of hurt, disappointment, and frustration, I hope you will remember that you can help your heart not to break by taking a heart break and respecting all the feelings that are bubbling up. Be kind to yourself and honor the process. Please.

I’ll take all the happy puppy pictures you want to send along of your happy companions! It’s healing and so cute!

Best Regards,


P.S. If you'd like a transcript of the podcast, check out Episode Transcription

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