Giving away your best friend…

It’s been just over a month since we gave away our best friend.

I’ve been trying to write this for ages and somehow I never seemed to be able to find the right words. I might write a poem about her sometime, somewhere, but for now, please forgive my rambling.

We’d been having issues with Skittles escaping for years now. It probably started in her first year of life and we never succeeded at stopping her. She’d always find some new thing to climb or just chew up the barriers we put in place. She got herself into all sorts of trouble – got picked up by the council and even killed chickens in a neighbour’s garden.

We put her on a chain. It would be a temporary measure, we said, because we couldn’t let her keep getting out and being a public nuisance (aside from endangering herself too). The fence was raised. We even tried an electric shock collar barrier. Nothing worked. She stayed on the chain.

Something happened a couple of months ago which escalated things. Our neighbour next door got some rabbits, and naturally, our dog wanted them. We couldn’t even let her off the chain for a supervised play – it was straight over the gap in the fence and over to the hutch.

You know, I’ve cried a lot over this dog. I cried when we first got her and then we had to go to work full time and she was alone and sad all day – so we found her a puppy daycare place, which kinda solved that. I cried when she got out – I was so scared that she could have gotten herself dog-napped or run over. I cried when she killed those chooks because I knew that it was our fault – we hadn’t been taking the escaping issue seriously enough.

I cried the day she jumped the fence and nearly got those rabbits – she had done it before but this particular time, I cried because I had made up my mind about something I’d been thinking about for a very long time – that we probably should rehome her.

I advertised her, met with a few people, but then we met with this family who were looking for a companion dog for their own dog who used to escape and whined all day when they were at work. Their dog seemed like a perfect match for her, so we decided to have a trial period.

In the days to come, I think my mind went on overdrive and I gave it my all. I took her for longer walks than ever before with the boys in tow. I let her come in more often, cooked her fancy meals and gave her lots of treats. I tried harder than I had ever done before, and I was exhausted by the end of it.

Guilt really set in – I’m sure it had been there before but it completely consumed me. I was sorry I didn’t spend enough time with her, that I didn’t walk her enough or spend enough time training her back in the day. I was sorry we didn’t have another dog for her to play with, as she’s such a loving and sociable dog. And I was also sorry about the repercussions on our family – sorry that Jacob and Jared wouldn’t grow up with a dog. Jacob still asks about her and asks when she will come home – it still silently breaks my heart.

The day we gave her away, we skipped church and took her for a walk in the reserve. It wasn’t a long walk as it was drizzling, but it was just memorable all the same. We dropped her off and I reckon she didn’t know any better, like she thought I might have been dropping her off on a playdate or to have someone petsit while we go away.

And then I cried, because I knew I had done the hard thing but the right thing for her. So many times in the days to come did I want to march over there and get her back, but from what they were saying and the photos, they seemed to be having an amazing time. Two dogs joyful in the company of each other, a happy family with a new loving dog. It was only us who would have to bear the sadness.

It’s been just over a month since we gave away our best friend.

Many tears spilled, many moments reminisced, but I need to let her go. I decided to make a video about her, as lame as that sounds, but it has helped me heal. I’ve looked at these pictures so many times, listened to the song (which is Avril Lavigne’s “Hush Hush”) again and again but it still brings twinges of sadness. I hope that it will change one day soon.

But for now, here is my mediocre piece of work (sorry I’m no videographer, I did this in MovieMaker!) but this means the world to me.

Here’s to the good times, Skittles. You will always hold a special place in our hearts.

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7 thoughts on “Giving away your best friend…

  1. Let me start by saying that re homing a dog is never an easy task and pet parents, like yourselves, find that they are riddled with guilt by doing so. I think, no, I believe that we need to do what’s best for our dogs. We are their advocates and although some of the things will break our hearts, we must do so for their own good. In this case, your furry friend should come first. Loving, grieving, missing, and so many other emotions that you feel for a dog is never mediocre. You love Skittles and loving is never mediocre. The best to you and your family.

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    • Sorry Marcela I realise I never replied, but I really appreciate your thoughts. I suppose part of my guilt is not finding the courage to do this earlier and letting things perpetuate – but I have been assured that she is doing very well and loving her new home, so what else could I hope for? 🙂 Thanks again 🙂

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      • You did the right thing. You did right by her, but even like that for us humans there is always that guilt we feel for letting them go. I do wish more pet parent were like you.

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  2. We had a dog do the same…dug under our fence and got the neighbors rabbits. We made the same decision. It was really tough, but hang onto knowing you’ve done the right thing by Skittles and by your neighbors. This too shall pass.

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    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience, and I’m sure you know exactly how I’m feeling. And I’m sure that it will get better with time and I just need to take comfort in the fact that she is happy in her new home. 🙂

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  3. We had to rehome a dog too. She was 8 years old and after spending $3.5K on 6ft colourbond fences she dug under them. So we put pavers and railway sleepers along them to prevent digging. We even put in a $1500 dog run which she escaped from. The day I saw our toy sized poodle clear the 6ft fence from a standstill I couldn’t take the stress anymore. One day she would be surely hit by a car? It’s a hard decision to make but I remember the relief knowing she was happy, safe and not escaping her new home where she had 24/7 attention from an older lady. I was grateful not to be receiving multiple calls a week about someone finding our “cute brown puppy” who they’d fed bacon to.

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    • Thanks so much for your comment – oh wow, you certainly did so much for your dog! It must have been so difficult for you. But yes I know what you mean about the relief, and I’m feeling it too. Though I’m almost guilty to feel relieved, like I shouldn’t be feeling happy, but I am? I’m sure that we’ve done the best that we could for our dogs..

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