When we got Xander in March of 2001, I was in the middle of one of my most depressed years in my life. I had officially quit high school a month and a half before we got him because I was so messed up psychologically. Blizzard, a cat that we had had almost my entire life, had died of kidney failure. I was cutting. I was suicidal. I was lonely. One day, my mom started looking in classified ads for dachshunds. She was calling around about them before she told me about it. She knew I wanted a dachshund, but she didn’t want to get my hopes up. When she found the ad for Xander and it said that he was free, I think she was surprised to find out that he was still available. We went and saw him and he jumped up on me and it was basically love at first sight. And having him made my depression then more tolerable because I had someone else in my life to love and who could love me.
Whenever she or I would get more depressed, she would get something. It wasn’t necessarily an animal. In some cases, it was a cheap dress from Walmart or a milkshake from Sonic. Happiness couldn’t be bought, but a temporary depression-easing band-aid could.
So when she brought up an ad in the Sunday paper, I had a feeling that I knew why she was looking in that section. We’ve all missed the dogs. Losing them was like a gut punch for all of us, but less than 15 hours before I had said that I missed Alice and wanted her back more than I wanted anything else in the world. I think she wanted to stop my pain. I think she wanted to stop all of our pain. So she found an ad for $50 dachshund puppies and she got her hopes up about it. I told her that dad wasn’t going to go for it because, as he put it, “we’re still in a tail spin.” Mom still brought it up with him, and he nearly bit her head off. I didn’t get my hopes up because I knew he wouldn’t go for it.
I think my mom is trying to repair the hole in me, though. Whenever I’m sad she tries to say that we’ll get a dog soon or we’ll do something else soon. I think she’s afraid that I’m going to keep getting more depressed, and I may. I think she’s trying to stop the pain and I appreciate that she’s doing that. I don’t know if a new dog would help. I’m still going to miss Alice, Gretchen, Molly, Willow, and Xander. I’m going to miss them because of how abruptly we lost them all. I’m going to miss them because I love them. I’m going to miss them because grief sucks like that. A part of me doesn’t want to get attached to another dog. What happens if we lost that dog somehow? Will I ever be able to handle losing another animal?
I hope we do get another dog someday, but somehow I have a feeling that that won’t be happening anytime soon.