A twist of fate, a heaven-sent gift

A twist of fate, a heaven-sent gift

After tragically losing her beloved Royal Poodle, Manon was lifted out of her grief by another dog that appeared like a gift from the heavens.

December 24, 2019

That day, while glancing out the window, Manon watched her neighbour's dogs play in the street. She was instantly concerned for the animals’ safety, so she went outside to bring them out of harm’s way. But unbeknownst to Manon, her 5-year-old Royal Poodle, Bella, followed her outside. Tragedy struck. The neighbour's dogs avoided the worst, but not Bella. The poor dog never saw the car coming. The impact was fatal.

For a long time, Manon was angry. She asked herself over and over: Why did she go outside and involve herself? Why didn’t she realize that Bella would follow her out the door? Why protect the neighbour’s dogs from danger—and not her own? The guilt plagued her to no end. Manon had 2 other dogs, mixed German Shepherds, but they weren’t like Bella. "A poodle gives a lot of love," explains Manon. “The shepherd tries to serve, but the poodle wants to be in your bubble. Poodles want to love you, to be close to you. They epitomize absolute love. After Bella, my world was empty. There was a void that I needed to fill."

The mourning comes to an end
After 15 days of mourning, Manon was ready to love again. She started looking for another black Royal Poodle to adopt. This prompted many raised eyebrows amongst her friends and family but Manon was not concerned about their judgment. She was judging herself more harshly than anyone else could. It would be an understatement to say that Manon was torturing herself. "I felt that I was betraying Bella by looking for a new poodle. In my heart, I asked her to send me a sign, to tell me I was doing the right thing. I felt no connection with the first dog I went to see, none whatsoever. So I went away empty-handed, adrift in my grief and pain.”

Manon decided to see another Royal Poodle. As soon as she saw her, the little dog freed herself from the hands of the owners and bounded towards Manon. "In my heart, I asked Bella for permission. And in that very moment I understood that it was time to liberate myself from my pool of grief and guilt.” Manon has begun a new phase of her life with Bonita—and her heart is a little lighter.

One morning, some 6 months after Bonita was welcomed into Manon’s home, Bonita took a spoon from the kitchen and laid it at the front door, an uncommon gesture for a dog but, shockingly, it was the very thing Bella often did. Manon was amazed. "Bonita only did it once. Never again. Even if it sounds crazy, I like to think my Bella winked at me at that very moment."

Manon knows Bella will always have a special place in her heart. Over time, the guilt dissipated and was replaced by a bundle of wonderful memories of her departed pet. And Bonita? She is now 4 years old, and there is no doubt that she fully occupies Manon’s entire bubble.

Cover: Catherin Arsenault

Photo: Personal collection

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