As a child, I was overtly fond of animals. We never lacked for pets at home, and I was left a very happy camper. They were well-housed, well-taken care of, well-fed, and well-loved. As I grew older, I carried this trait with me.
I love all of my siblings' dogs very much, and I would pretty much do anything for them, but I admit that there is a very special place in my heart (and life) for Nana, my Lhasa Apso whom I shared ownership with my beautiful niece with. He was the first I thought was truly mine -- the dog I would grow old with.
Last year, after 7 years worth of love, laughter, and memories, Nana met his maker. You can imagine my devastation. He was old, to be sure, but his life could have been longer. It kills me that I wasn't able to give him that.
True to his ever sweet nature, a couple of days before his passing, Nana found his way to my bed. We cuddled, I talked, and we spent a very good night together. 2 days after, as I went off to celebrate my friend's birthday, I received a call that Nana went to Rainbow Bridge.
I was paralyzed with shock, it felt like I floated, but my heart found its way to my eyes and for the first time in a really long time, I cried myself to sleep. Those tears stayed with me for quite a while and to this day, a year later, I still have tears for my little one. Even now, as I write this blog post, I find my nose runny and my eyes sore. Nana is and was my best friend.
2 days ago, I gave myself another chance at taking responsibility for another's life. Yes, Nana's demise was traumatizing, but that's no reason not to give "motherhood" another shot. Enter Mochi (photographed above). As I awaited his arrival, I was a slave to mixed emotions -- excitement, of course, but more importantly, anxiety. I don't want Nana, in Rainbow Bridge he might be, to feel like I simply replaced him like I would an old shoe. That is not the case.
As my siblings have put it, I have to honor Nana by putting in more effort with Mochi. Doing so does not lessen my love for Nana in any way. This does not also mean that I love Mochi any less, of course not. It simply means I love Nana in a different way -- it is a younger, more passionate, more naive kind of love. The love wherein I thought he would stay with me forever, no matter what my failings were. With Mochi, I know now that love requires more than the affection. It means the poopies, the peepees, the hard bills, the whatnot. I hope I give Nana a smile knowing that in almost all that I do, he is still in my mind.
So Mochi, my little angel, I hope you know that even with all the anxiety, it is all on me. It does not make me love you any less, as I so obviously can't be ripped away from you. Tomorrow night, before you sleep, I will tell you a story about your big brother. I love the both of you so very much.
*All photographs from Shutterhound's tumblr.