This month’s health and lifestyle column from Corinne Yeadon, of the Being Better private therapy practice in Skipton

I TRULY believed I could never love again, but Cupid’s arrow has struck and I am smitten.

The love I am talking about is the four-legged canine variety. Following the heartbreak of losing our family dogs months apart last year, I vowed never to have another dog. The pain of losing a pet felt too high a price for the joy they provide.

Friends who are not particularly dog people have commented about our home not feeling right without a dog. Without dogs, the house has probably been cleaner and there has been less money spent, but the weight of an empty home is heavier.

We made attempts to adjust to a life without dogs, focusing on not being tied and the ability to get out more, be more spontaneous, but the reality was we actually did less. Arguably our physical, emotional and social self care took a battering in our dog-free world. Our daily habits and routines were drastically altered and not for the better.

It was love at first sight when we saw Winnie the rescue dog, all legs and floppy lugs. As soon as I clapped eyes on her I felt that she was our dog. I was aware there had been a lot of interest in her so attempted to manage my expectations about a successful adoption, in order to avoid disappointment. It was, however, a defining moment, I realised that whatever the outcome the balance had shifted and we were ready to open our hearts and home to a dog once more.

Appropriately February the month of love is the time she will be welcomed into her forever home. Someone once told me that grief is love with no place to go and I completely sign up to that way of thinking. Winnie is not a replacement but an addition. I continue to feel sad, miss and think about our dogs who have died, but this is alongside the joy and excitement of our new arrival. Grief doesn’t shrink but over time space is created to allow for new experiences and happiness to filter in. I guess it’s worth considering that our ability and need to love is greater than our capacity for grief.