A tiny Chihuahua came to live with us back in August, and since then she has romped, cuddled, and squeaked her way into our hearts. We are beyond charmed by her awkward eagerness to be a special buddy to me, to Kevin, and to Pepper, our reluctant Pomeranian. We call her Bug, although her growing importance in our lives suggests a more respectful moniker…perhaps Miss Bug? Everyone who meets her is immediately enchanted by her quirky personality, her sweet spirit, and her gentle nature. One minute she is a bouncing little goofball, acting wild, and the next minute she is power napping atop the back of the old leather chair in my office. She is a whole lot of funny and a little bit of weird and oh so very delightful…just like Mack; and sometimes I wonder if Mack handpicked Bug herself and sent her to us.
Adopting Bug turned our house a little upside down at first with house training, fur-sibling rivalries, and life adjustments by and to our new little family member. But upside down was a good thing. It was exactly what we needed. We had become too sheltered. Too comfortable with our seclusion. Too exhausted by grief to seek out new happiness in the world. Kevin needed a project; I had become too reliant on Pepper to calm my anxieties; and Pepper needed a furry companion, even though she is still not convinced that Bug should stay. Bug arrived at our house with the energy and intensity of a puppy, her need for training dramatically altered our only-dog complacency and pushed us into the previously avoided neighborhood dog park where we have met new people and new dogs. Bug arrived at our house, claiming her spot as the baby in the family and demanding the constant attention of all three of us. Yet most importantly, I think, Bug arrived at our house to save us.
Grief is a lonely and bitter journey, but at times external forces make you stop to share the road; and when you do, little comforts are frequently your reward. I have learned that those comforts that come along the way are frequently unexpected and often arrive in small packages. In August, one of those unexpected and small comforts had arrived in the form of a tiny Chihuahua. But as my difficult 2015 is drawing to a close, I now realize that Bug is so much more than just an unexpected comfort. In recent days, I have realized that this silly, six-pound doggie has become my special friend; but she has become a sort of spirit animal to me as well. Bug’s dorky lovability, her goofy personality, and her kind spirit daily remind me of the qualities in Mack I always admired and promised to emulate a year ago as I faced my first New Year without her. The year 2015 has been a struggle, and it is a constant battle to survive my loss with grace. Bug reveals to me that I still have the capacity to love, to find new joys in unexpected places, and to embrace the future with a little hope. She can provide some grace with me on this journey.
Bug’s cute little face both connects me to Mack and gives me some strength to face 2016 without Mack. I know in my bones and in my soul that Mack would be so pleased that her dad and I have let this sweet little animal into our hearts. She believed that animals held the power to lighten many sorrows, and it would be no surprise to her that Bug could melt her Momma Bear’s heart. Of course, Mack would remain skeptical about the impact that Bug might have on our reluctant Pomeranian, but she would wholeheartedly approve of our new little friend and the magic of her little heart full of love for us all.
And because I cannot pass a blog without an image of my Macko, here she is loving up on Pepper…