Everyone knows the amazing bond I have with Flipflop, he is my baby and brings so much joy to my life. Seeing how he takes care of Dahlia warms my heart, and my morning snuggles with him are the best. He rescued me when I had to release Dupont to the rainbow bridge.
It pains me to recall these memories as I am so close to Flipflop now, he is such an amazing dog and I love him more than life. But our first year together was a struggle for me.
As is known, I wasn’t looking for another dog, I had no intention of getting another dog, as Dupont aged, I decided in time I would foster but I would never have another dog……so glad I broke that promise to myself!
Early one morning I looked at my emails and saw one from my friend, Sarah, a dog, cat and foster mom. Sarah just decided to randomly send me her next fosters photo via email. Before I even knew what I was doing, I said we needed to introduce this foster to Dupont……The story I have shared many times, a force greater than myself, something that I have no idea how or way came over me and I adopted Flipflop (then named Smokey).
So here I was with an ailing senior and puppy I totally didn’t expect to have. Even with the cuteness of baby Flipflop I was very careful to ensure Dupont remained my #1. Dupont was good with Flipflop and things were going well.
Just 2-1/2 months after Flipflop joined our pack, Dupont fell, he was done, he gave me all he could and needed me to repay him for his years of love and loyalty. My heart broke, it broke like it never had before. Laying on blanket on the floor of the vet office, beside my loyal companion, I stayed with Dupont while he took his last breath. I stayed with him for a while afterward, hugging him (I knew he hated hugs and snuggles and I managed a weak smile knowing he was looking down on me cursing me for hugging his body so tightly).
Like many dog owners, I struggled with the loss of Dupont, I had hard time not blaming myself, even through my vet assured me I did everything right with him.
My grief of losing Dupont made it hard for me to allow myself to bond with Flipflop. I felt guilty for loving him so much. I felt bonding with this puppy would somehow lesson the love I had for Dupont.
Flipflop did his job, he got me out of bed every morning and I was so grateful to have him to help me through the horrible grief. But he was exhausting, he had more energy than I knew what do with, he earned his nickname – Flipflop the pup who won’t stop (and to this day he still has those moments). I was so scared of losing Flipflop, as I did Dupont, I completely lapsed on his training and let him get away with things Dupont never would have been allowed to do.
At 6 months old, a daycare opened up down the road from me and I enrolled Flipflop on opening day! He needed this outlet! He was a hit at the daycare, with is antics and energy, the staff loved having him there, and I was happy I found a place for him to use up his excess energy and be happy.
Flipflop’s daycare was having a fundraiser for The Bello Project, they would have Santa there, dog business booths and a communicator. I have blogged about communicators before and believe in them or not, the interaction I had with the communicator at Dogtopia that day, changed my relationship with Flipflop.
I had brought Dupont’s collar, in hopes the communicator could connect with him, it was almost a year since he passed away and I was unable to let go of my “what ifs” What if I did this that day instead of that, would Dupont still be here…..the truth is I know there is nothing that could have prolonged Dupont’s life, he was ready to go and he knew his baby brother would take care of me, but losing him still haunted me.
When I gave the communicator Dupont’s collar, she focused for a few minutes and then said, “he’s a big furry guy, isn’t he, ” I immediately broke into tears. She told me that Dupont no longer wanted to see me so sad, he was happy now and was able to run without any discomfort. He didn’t blame me or hold resentment toward me, he was ready to leave when he did. And most importantly he didn’t begrudge my love for Flipflop.
Whether she really saw Dupont that day or somehow just knew what I needed to hear, I don’t care, her words to me allowed me to let go my guilt and allow me to fully open my heart to Flipflop. I hadn’t realized how much I was holding back from Flipflop until after that conversation when a weight lifted off my shoulders and I knew that Dupont wanted me be happy and he knew how much he was and still is loved.
As Flipflop and I continue our life together, I kept my promise to myself to foster and we gave second changes to 13 fosters and ended up with Dahlia along the way. Dupont will always be my eldest son and will always be a large part of my heart .