cocker spaniel close up puppy

Meet Our New Puppy And Latest Family Member

My heart beats dog® and the heart wants what the heart wants. Meet our new puppy and the latest member of the Fidose of Reality family. My wife and I are proud to announce the addition of our next Cocker Spaniel.

Meet Alvin Harrison Bryant, a tri-colored Cocker Spaniel born at the end of January 2022. He is mighty, beautiful, fun, and meant to be. We are not the type of people who can live dog-less Cocker-less. We are giving, dog-loving, kind-hearted women whose lives are elevated in the company of dogs.

Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love and loyalty. They depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs, your heart is very big. ~ Erica Jong

Here’s why we opened our hearts to another Cocker Spaniel, why we decided now is the time and when Alvin will become a permanent member of our family.

Why We Are Bringing Another Dog Into Our Lives

Our hearts beat dog.® Plain and simple: We aren’t people who can be in this world without a dog. We always knew that we’d welcome another Cocker Spaniel into our lives.

We just didn’t know when, but we wanted to wait a few months after the sudden and devastating loss of our beloved Dexter. Without another dog, I’d remain stuck in the heavy throes of grief, and that’s not what Dexter would want.

Dexter lived each day and every moment with such ardent joy and incredible love that we want to carry on his legacy.

I read a quote recently that goes, “Dogs die. But dogs live, too. Right up until they die, they live. They live brave, beautiful lives. They protect their families. And love us. And make our lives a little brighter. And they don’t waste time being afraid of tomorrow.” (~D. Gemeinhart)

I know that I will see Dexter again when I die. I will see our Brandy Noel again when I die. I know they would want us to be happy. I can’t live in a constant state of grief.

There will never be another Dexter.

There will never be another Brandy Noel.

And there shouldn’t be.

Each dog is my heart dog. Some people say they have one heart dog. That’s not me. That’s not my wife, Darlene. We love all our dogs the same way. Each of our dogs owns our hearts.

close up photo of our new puppy

Why Are We Getting Another Puppy So Soon

It’s been 3-1/2 months since Dexter passed away. I’ve learned how long you grieve is not a measure of how much you love. I will love him forever and miss him every day, just like every dog with which we share our lives.

Recently, a fellow dog writer and colleague, Laura Greaves, shared something very profound on her Instagram page. She’s lost two dogs in 72 days. I cannot imagine her sorrow and grief, but I am inspired by her message.

I know that some people are so devastated by the death of a pet that they can’t even consider opening their heart to another animal companion for years, or maybe ever. And I understand that.

Losing a four-legged soulmate is painful in a way that no other loss is. I miss Tex with every fiber of my being, and I always will. I still cry for him most days. The past six weeks without him have felt like an eternity.

But I also love dogs….Dogs are my joy, and I want more of it.

This is exactly why we are opening our hearts and home to Alvin. We are head over heels in love with him already. We met him this weekend at the tender age of almost four weeks old. He will join our lives at the end of March.

As Laura says, “If you know what brings you joy and you’re able to get more of that thing in your life, for God’s sake, DO IT. Life is hard. Make it better however you can.”

That’s what my wife and I are going to do.

I used to say “never again” – as in “I can never again allow a dog to shatter my heart like this.” I said that after losing Brandy Noel back in 2008. Dexter entered our lives through a series of small miracles and fate. Dexter was my never again.

He taught me that I could never NOT love this way again. My heart beats dog.® Never again doesn’t apply to us. It’s all about timing. I am fortunate to have married someone who feels the same way.

We’ve been together for nearly 30 years, and this is the longest period of time we’ve been without a Cocker Spaniel. It’s been hell for us on so many levels.

Dex died suddenly and without any sickness or illness prior.

And we just weren’t ready to bring a dog into our lives. Until now. We asked Dexter to send us the next one. And he did. In a big, huge way.

our new puppy

Dexter’s Blessing From The Rainbow Bridge

I always knew our next Cocker Spaniel would come with Dexter’s blessing. Like all pet parents, you hope your dog lives a super long life. What Dexter lacked in quantity of years (he was a little over 13), he made up for in quality of life.

We know Dexter placed his pawprint blessing and sent us Alvin because:

  • Alvin is the only boy in a litter of girls.
  • We watched the birth via live puppy cam. At one point, the breeder said, “Wow, this is like a rainbow litter” because there were Cockers of different colors. We heard rainbow and that solidified it.
  • After recently meeting Alvin in person at the breeder’s house, we decided to do some grocery shopping afterward. We chose a grocery store within a half hour drive. Our GPS took us right past the hospital where Dexter passed away. We were shocked but also felt that was a sign that Dexter was passing a message to us that Alvin is the one.

What We Named Our New Puppy and Why

Ever since I was a child, I would do a fun impression of Alvin from Alvin and the Chipmunks. My wife heard me one day about 30 years ago and loved it. So I started nicknaming her Dave as in David Seville, the chipmunk’s owner, and leader.

However, we aren’t fond of the new 2020 Chipmunks. They look like little creepy boys. We love the retro Alvin and the Chipmunks.

We knew we’d name him Alvin. With each dog, we give them a middle name. Brandy had mine, Noel. Dexter couldn’t have Dar’s since well, it’s Jane LOL. So we gave him James for his middle name after a famous winning Westminster Spaniel.

For Alvin’s middle name, this is where anyone who has not seen the end of the new Dexter series should not read any further. SPOILER ALERT IN A MAJOR WAY.

Last chance not to read on.

Dexter dies at the end of the finale of the Dexter television show reboot. He asks his son to shoot him. His son is Harrison. I cried my fool head off because our Dexter is dead and now tv Dexter died, too. It was sad and unreal to us.

We love the name Harrison but we don’t want the dog called Harry. Just like we don’t want him called Al.

He’s Alvin Harrison Bryant.

We’ll call him Alvin.

P.S. Alvin’s dad is named Calvin. We love that if you drop the “C,” you have Alvin. It just happened that way. Pretty cool, right?

new cocker spaniel puppy
Best dog mama Julia and her beautiful babies

Meeting Our Puppy For The First Time

The breeder invited us to meet Alvin in person this weekend. It’s hard not to fall in love with a puppy, especially when your heart is shattered into a million pieces. (Plus, the breeder, Pinecliff Cockers, is one of the best on the planet and we trust them explicitly.) Lisa and Sandy are the real deal. They go above and beyond, and we are fortunate to have met them and become their biggest fans.

Alvin licked my bottom lip and my nose. That is exactly what Dexter used to do.

He is his own individual little being. I hadn’t smiled, laughed, and felt such a sense of completeness since the day before Dexter died.

Rather than tell you all about him, watch the video in this post.

Should You Get Another Dog After Yours Dies?

Each person is different. Some pet parents need one right away. Some say never again. Some wait a long time. And some decide one day when the time is right.

Here are a few articles you can read on the topic:

How I Survived After My Dog Passed Away

What To Do When A Dog Dies

Anatomy of A Grieving Dog Mom

How to Cope with the Fear of My Dog Dying

I’ll be sharing images of his progress and milestones until he is permanently placed in our arms at the end of March. Until then, he’s already found his way to our hearts.

Meet our cocker spaniel, our new puppy


  1. I am crying happy tears for all three of you! Alvin is a blessed little guy to have you and Darlene! I live his name! I was obsessed with Alvin and The Chipmunks as a kid! I still have my memorabilia.


    1. OMD you have the original memorabilia? Those were the best Chipmunk times. Thanks for your kindness and friendship.

  2. I am over the moon happy for you both! Alvin is precious!! He is an Aquarius meaning he will be “out there”, brilliant, philanthropic, a humanitarian (or is that dogitarian? Lol), he will be fun, sensitive and loving! I’m on my phone so the video isn’t loading but will keep trying. I loved the “old” chipmunks! When he pees and poops on the floor you can yell “Alvin!!!!” BOL. FYI we got Levi 4 and a half months after Dakota passed and Roary was 3 months after Cody passed. I could not live a “cat and dog less life” Loved the “rainbow” reference and love seeing your faces full of joy! May you have many happy, healthy years together! Alvin is one lucky puppy landing in your family. He won the dog lottery! So happy for all of you and looking forward to watching him grow. He’s beyond adorable!! ❤️🐶❤️

    1. I know that you understand the horrific loss and accompanying pain. And you are the real deal pet mama. You’ve been an inspiration to me. I miss seeing you in person. Hugs and gratitude. Thanks for your kind words!

  3. OMG! There is nothing cuter than a Cocker Spaniel puppy! See ypur happiness makes me so happy! Hugs and love to you!

  4. Welcome, Alvin. I’m so happy Dexter led you to him. I feel like Bear led Latte to me – what a gift in a life full of gifts from him.

    I lost Bear in a sudden way too. No one talks about that PTSD type trauma where you see a repeat of that devastating loss lurking all around you – just waiting to steal your breath and your life. It follows you on the happiest of days when you welcome a new family member and open your heart again. But like you, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My cats are my life – they make me who I am proud to be.

    1. You hit the nail on the head! PTSD type trauma. Thank you for giving that a voice. And yes, the devastating loss especially in the pet community. It’s a constant. I am so happy you commented. Sending you many hugs and meows.

  5. I am so excited for both of you! It is so strange that our deceased dog can leads us to a new chapter in our lives. Alvin is so very special and I wish you the best with your NEW BEST FRIEND!

  6. Congratulations Carol and Darlene! I love your new puppy Alvin. He makes me smile just seeing him with you. I know the feeling of losing a Cocker I’ve had to myself and lost my last one in November 20 20.I found my new baby couple weeks after losing Bailey. I couldn’t stand the quietness without a cocker. I know Bailey would want me to give another baby a loving home. So Maggie Mae came into my life on December 2 at nine weeks! She rules my heart and keeps me moving. I look forward to hearing of your adventures!!

    1. Amen to that – I will forever love each of my Cockers the same. We just can’t be Cockerless. It’s too hard. Hugs and so glad Maggie Mae is helping your heart stay happy! <3

  7. Congratulations! We love the name Alvin and we love the original Chipmunks. People always question getting a puppy after losing a beloved dog, but dogs know we have so much love to share and they would want us to have another furry one to love and cherish. Everyone of us has our own special place in Mom’s heart and each of our love is different and that is the way it should be. We have multiple dogs because Mom can’t imagine not having even one dog when she wakes up in the morning. Can’t wait until you get to bring Alvin home.

  8. Congratulations on your new baby! I’m so excited for both of you and you both deserve all the happiness and love in the world! I am with you and Darlene in that both of my dogs are my heart dog! I can’t have just one heart dog. I love both of them so much and can’t imagine my life without either of them. Holly is so excited that she will be an auntie! I cannot wait until they met and become the best of friends and oh the pictures and fun we will have! Yippee!! Is he old enough to meet Holly yet? Ha ha! I cannot wait!!! So happy for both of you!!! Love you both to pieces!

  9. Congratulations. I am so happy for the both of you. You needed a new baby to love and cuddle. I hope Alvin will bring you both lots of joy and happiness that you both deserve. May he have a long, healthy life.

  10. Congratulations to the both of you! I,too am crying happy tears for the both of you and reading the happiness that’s bursting off this blog. He simply adorable and I look forward to seeing his growing process and his homecoming. My husband and I both have hearts and homes that beat dog (we actually have 4 cockers-2 older 16&14, and 2 younger 6& 1 and a half. When people say which is your favorite, I look at them incredulously and say all of them are, each gives us their own unique personality and pleasure. Life is way too short, we must live it to the fullest with love, especially dog love ! Be happy love your little Alvin! PS, I LOVE THE NAME!

  11. Hi Carol and Darlene, I am SO VERY happy for your family. How perfect to have a new pappy for spring and the renewal you must feel. I am sure Alvin is a perfect addition to the Bryant household and can’t wait to meet him. Enjoy! Love you. Nancy

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