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Friday, April 19, 2013

Beauty and Love

I've realized, once again, that beauty is not skin or fur-deep. Seeing beauty comes from the soul.
I first met Shyla about six weeks after K's death. That's the soonest that I've ever invited a new dog into my life after a death. In retrospect, it probably was too soon but the stars aligned in such a way that I knew that Shyla was meant to be with us.
However, for my heart, it wasn't easy. Shyla was an almost-adult dog who lacked life experience and had many fears. Because she wasn't a tiny puppy, I irrationally thought that she "should" be like K. Indeed, I was reduced to tears more than once as I wished with all my heart that Shyla was K. That's a terrible admission to make to anyone - but it's the heart-wrenching truth.

Of course, I cared for Shyla immediately and wanted to help her. However, that's different from having a deep bond with her.

Today I realized that I haven't compared Shyla and K even once in recent memory. I will miss K forever but this incredible young dog has stolen my heart. She has her own soul, mind, and personality - and our bond has grown to a level that I didn't think would ever be possible again.
One of the awful things that I said in those first weeks after I met Shyla was that she wasn't as beautiful as K. In retrospect, I realize that my perception of beauty depends on the depth of my love. Now, in every sense of the word, Shyla is beautiful to me. I see it every time I look at her. She melts my heart.
I've seen how sweet she is with people, both me and others. She has an intuition about what I need - she naturally knows when to rest her head on my knee, lean into a hug, or snuggle with me.

She goes to my Physical Therapy appointments with me, and she has become a clinic favorite. Employees and patients both adore her for her sensitive and loving spirit. I even get asked to introduce her to specific patients who might enjoy having their appointments lightened up by meeting Shyla. She's still working on being comfortable with strangers so her "intuition" about what specific people need is not perfect yet. But, I can see that it will grow strong with time and more life experience.
As you may be able to tell from these photos, Shyla and I watched the sun rise into clear skies together this morning - one of my favorite things in the world. It was very cold and a winter wind buffeted us. My fingers rapidly became blocks of ice as I tried to capture Shyla's beauty with my camera. The snow swirling around Shyla in the photo above and stuck to her face in many of the photos is from blowing snow, not fresh snowfall.
The amazing thing is how Shyla and I both love to be outdoors in our mountains, no matter what the conditions. I never needed to teach Shyla to love the mountains - it was part of her soul from Day One with us. Her name means "Daughter of the Mountains", and it suits her perfectly.
Today, as I pedaled and she ran on the snowy trails, we enjoyed our harsh but gorgeous mountain trails together. And, every time I looked at Shyla, I saw incredible beauty.

P.S. My internet has been very erratic since our storms so I apologize in advance if I can't post or visit blogs.


  1. It is very clear that the two of you were meant to be together. Beautiful and love flow from your photos and her eyes.

  2. Somehow this post does not surprise us at all. K sent you a new pup to love, but she knew you needed one that would not be another K. We think she did an awesome job:)

  3. This touches me deeply because I believe love does define what we see as beautiful. I remember teaching a class of high school students a writing exercise based on artwork. One of the pictures I showed was of an old woman. The class erupted in jeers of how horrible and ugly the woman was. I quietly ask, "Have you ever loved someone who is ugly?" You could have heard a pin drop (not the norm in a class full of freshmen), and I could physically see the change come over them as they thought of grandmas, aunts, friends and neighbors. A few students tackled that picture and I still remember how interesting and touching their essays were.

  4. A beautiful post. I will admit to you that I know exactly what you're saying. I found myself for a long time broken hearted in knowing that no dog would ever be like my beloved Rudi, and I felt cheated by that. But again, just like you have done with your girl, I've found that uniqueness and beauty in the dogs that I've met since then.

  5. Goose's MOM is right. It was meant to be.

  6. I thought of Jamie and Bert through your whole post. My heart aches for Jamie but Bert has moved in and reduced the pain to joy again. How can we love them so much. IT bewilders me, but I welcome it.

  7. K will always be "K" and Shyla is different in many ways, but has made her way into your heart, Very touching words, a huge admission, very natural, and from your heart.Many of us can relate to all of those words, and feel the reality. Enjoy the ...,maybe what is the last fall, of your snow.Greetings from Jean

  8. Touching post

    Stop on by for a visit

  9. Good for you for sharing your honest feelings. I too can understand and went through a period of comparison and many thoughts of "it's not fair".

    I do believe that things happen for a reason. We may not understand but there is a reason.

    Shyla IS beautiful!

  10. Great Pictures and very Lovely written post.
    Thanks for your comment. Tyra is now looking like a Little pig...her puppies will come in a few Days. 63 Days is on 23rd April.

  11. What you say resonates in so many ways. When Tommy came into my life, he was a puppy but he also was a first dog to someone who was used to cats. It took time for me to realise that he was also an essential part of who I was.

    Also, what you say is such a wonderful way of showing that those who choose not to get another dog when their beloved companion dies can deprive themselves of something wonderful. Love is such a complicated and versatile emotion. Shutting the door on its possibility is always a shame.

  12. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment
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  13. Lovely thoughts, well expressed.
    Every dog that I have had - their soul touched mine, my heart. I can feel each place a dog touched, and no two overlap. My heart grows larger with each one.

  14. You have our mom's eyes leaking uncontrollably, Shyla. You are a beautiful girl!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  15. Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts of adjusting to life with Shyla. Often as a dog owner we wonder if we are the only ones who have these sorts of thoughts, and it is nice to know other people can struggle with forming an amazing relationship with their new canine friend.

    Maybe it is this struggle that makes the bond so much better.

  16. Woof! Woof! Well said KB and you guys are meant to be together. Beautiful words and Golden Thanks for sharing. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar


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