Many people have asked me this question: How’s Kelly handling it? Since Brooks crossed over the rainbow bridge, dog people are sensitive to the hurt and grief not only of the pet parents, but also the canine siblings left behind.

It both pleases me and upsets me to answer you– just fine.

It pleases me because Kelly is not suffering. Kelly isn’t pining away for her buddy, looking for him longingly or going on a hunger strike out of loneliness. Kelly seems happy and content.

It upsets me because Kelly seems to enjoy being an only dog in a household that wants to adopt another dog.

Here’s the thing–sometimes I wonder if Kelly seems not only happy and content, but happier and more content. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, maybe not. But now that Brooks is gone, Kelly seems more relaxed. No more worrying about who got patted first and who got more carrot snacks. No more sharing our affection.

It’s not that Kelly can’t get along with a sibling. When Kelly was adopted into this family, we already had a dog, a
yellow lab named Hudson, and they spent a lot of time together. We always intended on being a two-dog
family. She got along well with Hudson, and then Brooks, as long as they
understood she was the boss. But I think there was always an undercurrent of rivalry, jealousy, of fitting in and finding a place. Maybe that’s just part of being a family or pack.

I like the Kelly we see now–relaxed and affectionate. But our hearts long for another golden retriever, when the right one comes along. If it happens, I know she can adapt, and maybe even like it. Like us, I believe she has room in her heart for another brother. I hang onto the hope that I saw when this happened:

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