I got Mia on Valentines Day during my divorce. She was exactly what I needed — a cute, fluffy, bundle of puppy love.
And, let’s just say — I had a lot of love to give.
One person told me I was “codependent” with her. Another worried I would “kill her with kindness.” And someone else said that when she died she wanted to come back as my dog.
I was just trying so hard to do everything right.
I cooked for her because I heard that was best. I read books that said I needed to socialize her so I took her everywhere those first few months. We completed three dog obedience classes together. I drove an hour to take her to the holistic vet. After a bad grooming experience, I took her to a special groomer. After she had a few teeth pulled, I started brushing her teeth.
Maybe I was a little overprotective. But, I just wanted to make her life as good as possible. I felt like that was my responsibility.
Mia was 5 years old when I met my new husband. I actually brought her on our third date – a hike up in the hills. I’m surprised he still wanted to kiss me afterward because I let her drink out of my water bottle cap which freaked him out a bit. He wasn’t really a dog-person yet. But, on the way back he carried her over a stream, muddy paws and all.
She hadn’t been around many men so he felt the need to be extra gentle and kind to win her over. Sometimes, it drove me crazy because he wouldn’t enforce all my rules. But, she sure did love him.
And he realized we were a package deal. In fact, he insisted we bring her along with us whenever we could. This usually meant more work for me. But, it also meant she got out quite a bit (and her pics around town are all over my Facebook page :) He liked to say — we were a “pack.”
She never really slowed down like people said she would once she got older. Maybe it was from all the natural stuff I did. That’s why it was a huge shock last month when we discovered she was really sick and would need to be put down soon.
I started worrying about losing her when she was just a puppy. But, that hasn’t made the grief any easier. I guess — the deeper the bond, the deeper the loss.
I am slowly returning to life. And I will probably get another puppy someday. But, for now, I’m walking through my grief and adjusting to a “new normal.”
People have told me about the Rainbow Bridge where pets are reunited with their owners. I believe there is something that comes after this life and that gives me some comfort. It also reminds me to focus on what’s really important in this life — sharing light and love and hope.
So, I wanted to share with you — I know love is a risk. But, it’s worth it.
Dr. Vonda ("Vondie") Lozano is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Hypnotherapist and former Psychology Professor. She offers counseling, hypnosis and free workshops to help you have the life and love you really want. Vondie is the author of finding Mr. Right. She's been featured in Cosmopolitan, the Wall Street Journal and on KABC Talk Radio.
Vondie's been in L.A. for 20 years and now she's in Ventura. Nearby cities include Camarillo, Ojai and Oxnard. Ventura is also accessible from Santa Barbara, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village.