I resonated with this story so much and I think you are an incredible writer, by the way.
My husband and I said goodbye to our dog lucky this year and immediately got a new dog because I couldn’t get out of bed.
I skipped past denial and went right into the depression stage. He was everything to me. So we thought I would feel better if we got another border collie but it made me feel worse. Sad she wasn’t my lucky but also guilty for not loving her the same way.
I love her and I would never give her up but getting another right dog right away (it was about a month after he died), didn’t give me that feeling back.
I miss him, and I’m sorry for your loss of Heidi. She sounds like she was your “heart dog” (look up the term, very interesting stuff)
Take care and thanks for the well written and astute piece.