I wrote my previous post a couple of weeks ago as I’ve been mulling over the possibility of adding a pooch to my family, doubling its size. And I have to confess, I only had eyes for Chow Chows. Aside from my fond memories of Quantum and her sister Sidney, I love the traits of the breed (as I observed them) as well: not an unnecessary barker (even when barked at), aloof and not really interested in babies or other dogs or people outside the immediate family (like me), protective but not aggressive. They have some feline qualities in that they like to do their own thing sometimes. I love it all.
I found a breeder–the ONLY one I could find in Illinois–and contacted her to see if she had or might be having puppies at any point in the near future. She’d responded by the time I woke up the next morning, Father’s Day, while I was in Indiana at my folks. She sent me four photos, including this one:
And though I enjoyed a great day with my family, it was hard to not think about her–Kallie. I had already named her in my head. I drove home to Chicago on Sunday evening, infuriated by road block after road block caused by eternal construction and the President’s visit when I reached the city. Wouldn’t a Puppy Chow have helped soothe me, I pondered. I couldn’t think about anything else. When I woke up on Monday morning, I still waffled. Though it was nice to not have to worry about taking care of anyone or anything else, there was a sense of purpose I missed in caring for both Quantum and for Ken–in the good times as well as the not-so-good ones.
It was time for a bold decision, bravery–some “Ken-tacity.” So off to Richmond, Illinois I went after picking up a few doggie necessities to pick up my new fur ball daughter. As soon as she was handed to me, I fell in love. And I imagined it’s how Ken must have felt as soon as he first held Quantum. And I’ve felt that so many times since I brought her home. Don’t get me wrong. Ken and Quantum were their own “couple”–with so much love and respect for each other. And Kallie and I will be our own deal, too. But sometimes I like to think that I’m following in their impressive foot/paw prints. And maybe that I’m guided by such an impressive example to follow is what helps me understand that I really can do this alone. Kallie is her own personality, but it’s so comforting to see her exhibit traits so prevalent in the breed and do things that Quantum did.
When I called the vet clinic to make an initial appointment to have the vet who we loved take a look at Kallie, the girl who answered knew my number and first asked if I was Ken, then me. She was so excited about meeting Kallie. They don’t get many Chows there, and Quantum was a rockstar among all of them there. She sweetly asked about Ken, to which I had to let her know he’d passed last year. She deflated and I’m sure she felt terrible–for asking and for the loss of him. Like Quantum, he was quite a rockstar at the vet’s, too. (He was pretty much a rockstar, period.) I’m excited about seeing our vet tomorrow. She was always such a pleasure to deal with. And her pooch-side manner is unparalleled.
I feel like it’s another new chapter in my story as I continue to transition from my old, beloved life to my new, ever-evolving one. I’m excited to have a four-legged, fluffy copilot who seems to take to flight in her dreams.
Also published on Medium.