The beginning of a beautiful friendship

I remember the first time I met Holden. It was the second October without my mom, I can't remember if I was in therapy yet, but I must have been. I remember deciding that I needed to talk to someone about my loss when I lived on France Street and Holden showed up when I lived on Louisa... 

Whatever the case, there was a long period of time that everything felt grey, felt flat. Almost like I was walking around in a bubble. Everything was far away, nothing affected me. I felt numb.

When I met Holden, he was called Junior, and was wildly careening around the back yard of a friend of mine. At four months old, he was all ears and paws, living with a big mamma-jamma of a pit bull/bulldog mix. I walked in and he zoomed past me only to jump on the older dog, hanging off her ears and annoying the hell out of her. 

I was smitten. I remember thinking there is joy in the world. I may not be able to feel it but it exists. And if I can feel a spark, if I can recognize joy, then maybe I can feel it one day.  

Selfishly, I needed this in my life. Luckily, it worked for the pup. 

The fact that all I needed to do was give him love, food and a warm place to live, was amazing. There weren't complicated feelings or conversations I had to have, he didn't hurt my feelings, he didn't know how to.  

He just wanted to love me and be loved. It was easy, simple, but also deep and profound.

Not difficult. 

I found I could pour my hurt and love, fear and sadness into him and he relished in the attention. Thrilled to have a body to snuggle and a face to lick. 

I quickly became attached.  

And one of the greatest relationships on my life began. I began to rely on myself a little more, knowing I had this tiny furry creature depending on me. he taught me to trust that I could take care of myself, and that indeed I could sink into the vulnerability of needing another being in my life. 

As he grew up, I grew into myself. And continue to do so. He was the beginning to the path to pull myself out of the darkness of grief.  

My guide dog back to life.