I've been meaning to respond to this post for a while, but reading your post took me back to a very painful time in my life as well. You see, 1 1/2 years ago I lost my very best friend as well. Although not a cavalier, she was my best friend in the whole world and taught me so many things. I grew up with her. If you'd like to read more about the story, you can find it here:
Soma, I am from Washington originally too. I lived in a place called Chehalis which is about halfway between Seattle and Portland. My family is still there. In fact, they were kind enough to send me a washington state pine tree wreath in the mail and surprise me yesterday. It smells so wonderful, I truly miss home.
I have to tell you that getting another dog is so rewarding, I can't even tell you how wonderful it is. Kosmo has helped me to heal so much from the loss of Xena. It doesn't mean that i don't think about her every single day still though, because I do. I miss her so much. Kos will never "replace" her but it is because of her that I am able to love him so much. I truly recommend getting another furbaby. I was not able to get Kosmo until almost a year after she'd gone as I thought "you know, nobody will ever replace her and it's ridiculous to think I could have a dog as good as her," but with proper time, love, care, and patience, it does happen. Although he'll never "replace" her my love for him is just as much as it was for her, just in a different spot in my life. Sometimes I like to think that Xena helps Kosmo out on the other side of the bridge. I really believe that she still does visit me. I miss her so much.. :(
Anyways Soma I feel for you and if you ever need anybody to talk to I will be here. In fact I'll be going home next June for my brother's graduation so I might just come up and bug you!!! hehe :P
Take care of yourself Soma and remember to take time for yourself as you're going through this difficult process. *HUGZ* to you!!