One of Stinky Wink's favorite games (until about the last month of his life) was tug of war. He would play that with any toy that was big enough for both of us to hold. There was one toy especially, which had a "handle" on it. I would hold the handle and he would get the bigger part in his mouth. I was always amazed at what a strong little booger he was. He would plant those back legs and there was no moving him! I was inevitably the first to "give in." From the first day, he loved to play and he loved his toys. That never changed until he got terribly sick. The same was true of "walkies." Up until the last couple of weeks, it was impossible to wear him out on walks. If I ever doubted that I made the right decision, I knew down deep that I had made not only the right one, but the only possible one. His quality of life was gone. He was in pain, and he was miserable. Looking in his eyes told me and, as usual...he won the tug of war--this time between his welfare and my heart. As weak as he was, he was still stronger than I was.

     I faced another tug of war the past few weeks. As my grief became more manageable, I began to think about another puppy to fill the emptiness in the house and start its own place in our hearts. The inevitable tug of war between my heart and my head kicked in. Part of me (heart) told me that it was too soon, that it was an insult to Wink, that I was too old--all the excuses that would keep me from moving ahead from the spot of grief where I was bolted. My head (for once) was practical. My head told me all the right things and reminded me that my heart wasn't wrong--just a bit misguided because it still ached from the loss of my besses puppo. I know what Wink would want. He was always right there when I felt "down" or just needed the encouragement that comes from a cold nose on the arm and the feel of silky ears between my fingers and a warm coat to brush. He would not want us to avoid getting another puppy out of some misplaced sense of loyalty. The breeder called me last night. Mama had four boys and a girl. She actually had five boys, but the first one didn't make it. I'm going next Tuesday to see them. Wink is still the tug of war champ! My beloved besses puppo, your place in our hearts will never change. Thank you for the years of happiness and peace you brought us. Your love and dedication were very often a beacon to me...and still are.

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Comment by Alison Prasavath on March 9, 2012 at 3:33pm

Noodles LOVES tug-o-war. We go through a set of rings (3 rings hooked together) every year and he always looks forward to his birthday when he gets to go pick out a new set. There is no toy strong enough for playing tug-o-war for almost an hour with every single night. If you ask Noodles to go get a toy, his rings are what he grabs. He has pulled me off the couch before if I'm not paying attention at keeping myself on the couch. He tries playing with kids, but he is so strong they end up falling over (and laughing and then Noods thinks it is time to give them kisses all over). I think my arms have gotten stronger from playing tug-o-war every night, so thank you Noodles for that.

Have a wonderful time meeting the new puppies next week. How exciting!

Comment by Jennifer Markley on March 9, 2012 at 3:18pm

So happy that the circle of life has continued.  *hug*

Comment by Chris West on March 9, 2012 at 2:03pm

Wink would not want you to be alone!  He would never begrudge you sharing your love with another dog just like you loved him.  Frosty loves to play tug of war too.  He has been so excited this week because we got a new toy that is like a rope, but in the shape of a circle, so we each get to hold a side and pull.  He has even been bringing it to bed and sleeping with it because he likes it so much!  Good luck meeting the pups next week!

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