Losing Heidi was hard. Really hard. As with any great pain in life, it started to subside with time. And though the pain was a bit dulled, the loss itself somehow became more pronounced. The house was quiet. I didn’t have to go for a morning, evening, night walk. The toys and dog beds were no longer littering the floor. Something was truly missing.

And yet even with this clear absence in my life, I was still not ready to get another dog. Heidi was truly wonderful and one of the greatest parts of my life. I think that I had decided that what was missing was Heidi and there was nothing that could be done about that. Certainly another dog couldn’t fix that. You can’t fix the irreplaceable.

Of course one dog does not truly replace another. But what I didn’t understand was that another dog could bring the same kind of happiness. Elise knew this, which is why she began the search for a new dog while I still had great reservations.

Through a fortunate series of coincidences, she found a young dachshund looking for a home. His owner had to go into long-term care and he needed a new family.

It was love at first sight. We brought him home the next day and I like to think that none of us could be happier. He settled in quickly and is truly part of the family.

Having a young dog was a bit of a shock after so many years with Heidi, but the energy and sheer exuberance of the young guy is just so contagious. He is friendly with everyone, outgoing, and just so much fun.

So with any loss, it is not about finding a replacement. The Heidi-shaped hole in my heart is unique and can never be filled. Elise understood that the trick is not to fill the hole, but to find something new and wonderful to set next to it, so that it makes it seem not quite so big.

Thank you, Elise. And welcome home, Gusti.

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