It has now been five days since we brought Queen Shiva the Diva into our home after she had been surrendered to our veterinarian's practice. It was a surprise to both Dan and me- we thought it would be a while before we brought another animal into our family after losing Kasey and Cooper unexpectedly over the past few months. It was the right thing to do, though, even as I wondered initially if it was too soon. I can already tell that Shiva is going to help heal our hearts from the loss of our two cherished pets. Taking care of her and working to introduce her into our lives is bringing me such joy.
We are hoping that Shiva will be good for Sophie, who is obviously missing Cooper, her constant companion of nine years. This was going to be a challenge, though, for our cat-obsessed Border Collie. The saving grace was a gift from our cat Kasey at the end of her life. We brought her into the house with us the last two weeks, and Cooper and Sophie seemed to understand that she was very ill. There were no more chasing games or barking; instead they gently sniffed her and accepted her into our home and our bed. She paved the way for Shiva to be accepted now. One of so many gifts this wonderful creature gave us during the almost thirteen years that we shared.
Kasey's last days… Coops (background) would be gone only three months later.
Things have gone amazingly well for such a short time, with each day finding Sophie and Shiva adjusting to each other more and more comfortably. Shiva is fearless, standing her ground and looking at Sophie as if she's saying, "I don't think so, peasant." Without the run and chase relationship, Sophie was perplexed at first, but- other than a bit of whining- she has been a saint. It really feels like it was meant to be for Shiva to come to Chez Gainey.
Day two…detente under my desk.
Day five begins peacefully.
Every animal that has been a part of my life has taught me lessons, and Shiva will be no different. Already I am learning patience, to let her be the cat she is and not the cat I think she should be. Kasey was my dog-cat, coming when I whistled for her, going with me to work out in my garage gym each morning, keeping me company as I did yard work, greeting me with her, "Ma-ma!" each time I came home or opened the door to the decks. We had thirteen years to develop trust, respect, and love. Lest I forget, Shiva has been here five days…it will take time for us to develop our relationship- and it is okay that that relationship will be different from the one I had with Kasey. She is not something that I can fix, no matter how much I may feel the need to do so. Such an important lesson for me to learn….Acceptance, openness to change, opening my heart to love again after loss.
I am so very happy to see Dan and Shiva bonding. Dan is such a cat person, and I know his heart is still aching from losing Kasey and Coops. Shiva has also brought some much-needed laughter into our home with her goofy antics, and with each burst of laughter I feel my broken heart come together just a little bit more. There is no rushing this process; I need to be patient with Shiva and Sophie- and with myself. Time will bring with it many gifts.
Doing her best to block Sophie from going upstairs to bed…
For now I will just be grateful for this opportunity, this gift. Even during those 3am wake-up calls when Shiva decides it's time for her human to give her some affection. Healing takes many shapes as we navigate loss, and I am open to however it manifests. Perhaps I feel the fog lifting a bit. I do know for sure that I see light ahead, and I am going to keep moving in that direction. Onward.