The Black Dog and Pure Joy

I can’t even begin to explain how doubtful I was about getting a puppy after my beloved Cavalier King Charles, Sophie,  died in January after sharing thirteen and a half years of life with me.

Reflection of a Black Dog
Reflection of a Black Dog

My biggest fear was that I just wouldn’t be able to bond with a puppy even if s/he was the the cuddliest, most puppyish pup in the world.

It was out of pure heartache that I got Stan and it was in a hopeless sort of hope that he could somehow help to take away some of the pain and emptiness I was feeling.

It seemed to be right and fitting that I would get a dog with spaniel ears and I was determined that the dog had to be jet black. When I held ten-week old Stan, just ten days after Sophie’s death, and felt our hearts beating as one as our eyes met, I knew I had to bring him home.

It was only the other day when I was listening to Roddy Doyle talking about his new book for children, which features a black dog, that I suddenly realised how my need for a black dog was all tied up with my low, low mood and Winston Churchill’s Black Dog of Depression came flooding back to me.

It also came to me that four of the most joyous days of my life have been the days that I first met the precious dogs that have punctuated my life. I can remember every single detail about those meetings.

Each one of the dogs has been an absolute joy and young Stan is carving out his own unique place in my heart. Yes, he’s digging up the garden, robbing the kitchen table, eating my shoes ….. but he is full of life, hope and love.

Stan: Taking a Breather in Tramore Beach
Stan: Taking a Breather in Tramore Beach





Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

10 thoughts on “The Black Dog and Pure Joy”

  1. I’m so happy to hear of the joy Stan is bringing to you. He is a beautiful dog. I feel the same way about our new rescue puppy that is part Silkie terrier and part Papillon. She weighs 7 pounds and my mom has never had such a small dog. We’ve had poodles, Shih Tzus, and most recently a Bichon Frise. He passed recently after 13 years as well. But I think he guided us to our Smokie. She is easy for mom to handle and is the epitome of a lap dog.

    I look forward to hearing more stories about the join Stan brings to you.

    1. Susie, thanks very much for your kind words and sympathy on your recent loss too. I’m delighted that you’ve found Smokie. Funny how the term ‘lap dog’ is often seen negatively but I see nothing but positivity in how you are using it here!

  2. Thanks, Jean, for sharing such a sentiment–it resonates with me. We have three rescued black labs, because in Mississippi, being a black dog means you are first to be euthanized at the shelter. I often wonder if it is part of the institutional racism here, but black dogs are last adopted, first euthanized, and you don’t see many of them in public. We lost our beloved German Shepherd, Rex, just a couple of weeks ago, and yes, it leaves a hole in your heart that you think will never mend. Because we still had 4 dogs (yes, we are suckers for rescuing animals), we do not anticipate another dog, but times past, once a bit of healing has ensued from the grief, we have always gone ahead with another. If you are a person who loves dogs, and the joy of sharing your life with one (or 5 or 6 which we have been known to do when circumstances dropped them in our lap), it seems just natural.

    Stan is beautiful.

    1. Suz, thanks very much for writing. I’m stunned about the attitude to black dogs over with you. It sounds so cruel and unjust.

      My heartfelt sympathies on the death of Rex. I know that while having other dogs is a help, it certainly doesn’t mean that somehow you miss the beloved one that has passed any the less.

  3. I’m not sure if you’ve seen photos of Copper, our chocolate lab, Jean. We adopted him 2 1/2 years ago, shortly after our Lucky Girl (black lab) died…my point is I can relate to the love you share with your new addition, Stan, and he is simply adorable. Your photos melt my heart, too. And you made me chuckle at the end about digging in the garden, etc…because Copper has done his share of destruction, due to some separation anxiety. He’s mellowed out quite a bit, but is only about 3 1/2 years old so still young in our eyes. He’s got choppers on him, though, and I really feel he’s part T-Rex after seeing some stuff he’s done. 🙂 Thank God we got through the beginning! Like you said, though, he’s brought so much love and joy to our family, so ” the getting to know each other” stage was well worth it. I know Stan will continue to bring you much joy and many kisses!

  4. Hi Jean – Stan is going to have such a great life! We have 3 rescues, 2 golden retriever sisters and a lemon Labrador. Here’s the thing about Labs – they are curious, shameless about food and have cast iron stomachs! Bananas disappear (skin and all) mysterious bulbs appear on the kitchen floor and turn out to be avocado stones (flesh and skin being inside said Labrador) and he doesn’t even have the grace to have an upset tummy!

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