Emma is gone, and there isn't a damned thing we can do about it. I miss her; there are a hundred things a day that remind me she's gone: the ingrained look-down before I take a step, for fear of stepping on her; the look to the bathroom to make sure she's there, before I close the closet door; the corner of the wall rubbed raw from her little chin. The howling emptiness of the spaces where her litter box was, and where her food and water bowls were.

It sucks.

We are working our way back.

A week and a half after putting Emma to sleep, Brenda & I find ourselves brimming over with energy, an unclaimed love that needs to be swallowed up by one or more new companions. The initial feeling is one of replacement, but that is wrong. Emma lived 17 years and had a great life, and despite our desire for her to live three to ten years more, she did not; we did what we could for her, she died peacefully, and we will carry the guilt of watching her die forever, nonetheless.

Now, it's time to unload all this pent-up love on one or more new creatures, and it's fraught with issues.

I love cats, but I also love dogs, and so does Brenda. Most of my life I lived in places unsuitable for dogs, but I managed to have my experience with both good and bad specimens. A Beagle who couldn't be controlled, a Doberman who scared everyone but loved us all. But after that, it was cats for me, and I loved every one of them. Apartments are what they are, and one thing that that is is a good place for cats -- not dogs. So I got used to the idea of cats. Emma ended up spending 17 years showing us how insignificant dogs were, but now that she's gone we're wanting that great big gigantic canine 24/7 problem more than ever.

And so we headed to the Boulder Humane Society today.

We've been trolling the websites for the last week or so, and today we headed to the Boulder Humane Society (with our friends Bill and Lauren) to see if there was a match. "Happy" the Plott Hound mix, was our chosen "possible match". The damned thing bit my lip after 45 seconds of interaction, but we still spent an hour with her and walked her around a while. Brenda helped me realize this was not the animal for us. Bill and Lauren also came to a similar conclusion about the pup they tried out. Brenda & I spent a lot of time soaking in the emotions of the many cats housed there, as well. It was a heartbreaking way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

We're more steeled than ever to get a dog, and have spent the bulk of this afternoon looking at the various shelter websites. We're convinced that we'll be good parents, but the questions abound. Do we get a dog, and, if so, do we get a little one or a big one? Do we get a cat at the same time, and if so, do we get a couple while we're at it? If so, do we get a kitten and an old fart? a couple kittens??

We want to get it right the first time, and I can tell you I can't endure a lot of trips to the shelter. I gotta go; lots of promising pups and kitties on the websites...