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In his favorite spot, looking out the window, probably waiting for David to come home from work.

In his favorite spot, looking out the window, probably waiting for David to come home from work.

June 13 marked one year since our sweet Kahlil died. I’ve been feeling kind of weird this June–the weather and the new green of fresh grass and leaves reminded me of how sick Kahlil was in early June last year. The landscape brought back those memories.

You could not separate Kahlil from his toy in all of his 14 years. Note the cast. He was always so aggressive in his play that he injured himself on occasion.

You could not separate Kahlil from his toy in all of his 14 years. Note the cast. He was always so aggressive in his play that he injured himself on occasion.

But on June 13, I felt I had turned a corner. I’m not a big subscriber to the idea that one year is some kind of “magical marker” in the grief process. But it can be. It’s all very individual.

Typical whippet! Kahlil finding the softest, cushiest spot in the house.

Typical whippet! Kahlil finding the softest, cushiest spot in the house.

We’ve had a beautiful urn for a while, made by the talented Michelle Kaisersatt of Keyhole Studios in St. Peter. We thought June 13 would be a good day to finally put Kahlil’s ashes in the urn.

Our shrine to Kahlil on the mantel. A favorite picture, his favorite toy, the urn, and a little whippet figurine.

Our shrine to Kahlil on the mantel. A favorite picture, his favorite toy, the urn, and a little whippet figurine.

One thing that has helped immensely was that we got another little crazy whippet to live with us. And today is a big day for her: it’s her first birthday!

Nina this morning, on  her first birthday.

Nina this morning, on her first birthday.

After Kahlil died, I knew to wait to get another pet. I really didn’t want to: I hated the empty house. We had never had an empty house. We got Kitty about one month into our marriage, and we got Kahlil in 1999.

We knew we wanted another whippet, so we went to the breeder’s website immediately after Kahlil died just to see if she had any litters planned. There was a litter due on June 17. Those puppies would be ready to go home around August or September, but I thought that might be too soon. I didn’t want to rush into a “replacement” mode; I wanted to let the memory of Kahlil linger for a while.

Kay of Northwind Whippets said she was planning another litter, due in October that could go home in December. That sounded like a great plan. In the days after Kahlil’s death, it was comforting to know by the end of the year we might have another dog.

But I kept looking at the June 17 litter and following their progress online through puppy pictures. I was in Duluth in August, so I stopped at Kay’s for a visit and a whippet fix. I got to play with the adorable puppies–there were four in that litter. This one stood long enough for me to snap the cutest photo:

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She was the only puppy to stop moving long enough to look right at me. She was so curious!

Trying to recreate the shot recently.

Trying to recreate the shot recently.

When Kay emailed in late August to let us know we could choose one from the June 17 litter, we were so excited. But which one to choose? The boy or girl? We hemmed and hawed for a while, but I just knew I had to get the puppy who looked at me with such curiosity the day of my visit.

I knew that a new whippet would never replace Kahlil. All dogs have such different personalities. I don’t think Nina could be more different than Kahlil! That has been nice, because it helps us refrain from making comparisons. She’s much smaller than Kahlil. I didn’t realize what a big boy he had been! She is also much more mellow. She wasn’t even that crazy as a puppy. Kahlil always seemed pretty tightly wired; for example, he stayed wound up if we had company, trotting around and never relaxing. If people come over now, Nina greets them but is pretty quick to lay back down. She also likes to travel and play with other dogs. Kahlil was very sweet and sensitive, hesitant to let us out of his sight. He was a cuddler at almost all times. Nina cuddles on her own schedule 🙂 She’s pretty confident and adaptable. And we could not separate Kahlil from his toy. Every day he had to play frisbee up until the very end. Nina is not too much of a chaser!

I try to walk Nina every day. Kahlil LOVED the trail. Nina likes it, too, but usually just for casual strolls. Kahlil loved to run. Nina is more of a walker :)

I try to walk Nina every day. Kahlil LOVED the trail. Nina likes it, too, but usually just for casual strolls. Kahlil loved to run. Nina is more of a walker 🙂

I’m so glad we have Nina. There’s just something about having a warm doggie body in the house that truly makes it a home.

 

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