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Healing

Judson, my sister and brother-in-law’s six-year-old Goldendoodle, greeted us at the door of their condo in Chicago with all the exuberance and soft fur love that Jack and I have been missing since Kanga died a few weeks ago. I wasn’t sure how we’d feel about spending the weekend with a dog who very much resembles the one we just lost, but it is impossible to resist those soft brown eyes, the warm body gently leaning against me, the furtive kisses when I put my face close to his. Yes, I said to myself after a few days, I could love another dog again after Kanga. Not quite yet, but sometime soon.

Actually, last week, in a fit of loneliness, I called Barbara Croft, the breeder who had the litter Kanga came from. Her farm’s in Pennsylvania, three hours away, and she’s still breeding Goldendoodles. After visiting other breeders, she had been the one who impressed me most. She had been breeding Goldendoodles for many years, one litter at a time. She described her approach with her dogs. at birth When it’s time for the mother to deliver, Barbara takes her into her own bedroom, and as soon as her puppies are born, she holds them up to her face and speaks to them softly. She promises that the personality of her puppies will be calm and responsive to human touch and voice. Barbara was so lovely and sorry when I told her that Kanga had died, but was happy that he had given us so much joy for 13 years. I explained that we’d be leaving for Mexico on July 14th, and was wondering if there were any possibility one of her mamma’s would be having pups between now and then. Call us crazy, but Jack and I had been talking about the possibility of taking a new puppy with us to Mexico.

“Well I do have a female who will deliver soon. Her puppies will be ready to go home on July 11.” That would give us only three days after we got him before we fly to Mexico. It was tempting, knowing it would be possible, believe me. The puppy would be small and sleepy enough that we could carry him in a travel crate lined with piddle pads that could fit under the seat. But three days would be just too little time to pick him up, get him to a vet for shots, and finish moving out of our apartment before moving. It would be a frenetic departure, not the calm total focus on him that a new little guy deserves. The more I thought about trying to get ourselves settled into our new home and acclimated to San Miguel de Allende while caring for a puppy who needs training and a regular schedule, the worse the idea seemed.

“It’s just too close,” I told Barbara sadly. “But when will you expect another litter?”

“October,” she said. Jack swears he’ll fly back and get a puppy then. Maybe one with the same lineage, the same DNA as Kanga’s.

I have a name for him picked out. Quizas, which is the name of a favorite song of mine, and a word that means Perhaps in Spanish. I’ll call him Quize (not a real word, but I like the way it sounds) for short. Perhaps we’ll get him. Perhaps we won’t. It’s all about possibilities.

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