For the past few days, a lively, four-year-old chocolate Labrador Retriever named Lola has been staying at my house while her owner is out of town. We've been wrestling and racing; she licks me a lot, and I scratch her ears. Even now, she's nudging me with her toy, trying to get me to play tug of war.
And if you promise not to tell her owner, I'll let you in on a little secret. I even let her sleep with me.
I have been around lots of dogs over the past two months since Precious died. In fact, I've even gone over to a friends' house JUST to play with their Golder Retriever, Brewster, as part of my grieving process. There's something about a dog running circles around my feet that warms my heart. But I wasn't sure how I'd do having another dog in my house, especially a dog who looks so similar to my old girl.
But in fact, the past several days have been wonderful. Lola shares many of Precious' best qualities, and though I wish more than anything I could just have Precious back, I am overjoyed to know that there are other really great dogs out there. Maybe even one dog who could help fill the hole Precious left when she died.
I don't think I'm ready to take the plunge quite yet, but maybe someday soon. And I might even get another Labrador Retriever. Maybe.