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  • One year ago yesterday, I drove to the SPCA to "look at a puppy." I'd seen her three weeks earlier on their website, the photo blurry because she was a busy 4-month-old. When I saw she was still there I mentioned it to my trusty sidekick, and he, without guile, asked me if I wanted to go and check her out.

    We had lost our 13 year old dog the year before and my heart was still broken. I missed him every single day and I knew he was irreplaceable. But something about this blurry photo just made me so excited. I surprised myself by saying yes. Surprised because I am a deliberate person, not given to rash decisions, particularly about important commitments like taking responsibility for another life.

    Because of an outbreak of kennel cough at the shelter, we were asked to fill out paperwork for adoption before even meeting any dogs. I filled it out, my hands shaking. We were asked to wait outside instead of going into the kenneling area. I was nervous, waiting on a blind date. Then, out she came. This impossibly velvety, gangly puppy. My heart lurched.

    We met two other dogs that day, took them for little walks. As an experienced bully-breed owner, the shelter wanted us to have a look at some dogs that might need a little more work. And I wanted to make the right decision, was worried that a young pup might be too much. Most of all, I was worried that it might be too soon. Maybe I really was trying to replace my lost friend.

    But it was too late. I was already smitten.

    As we drove home, the warm puppy snuggled comfortably on my lap, I learned the first of many things I am sure I will learn from her: hearts that are broken still work just fine.
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