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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2016 Bupa Blog Awards

We’ve had a few “downers” of late – I think it’s been a bit of a streak in the last few months or so. We’ve had quite a few kitchen appliances fail on us, like first our microwave oven, then our convection oven, and even our actual oven too – I never knew that oven doors could fall off, but so be it. We’ve also had car troubles, which have already cost plenty, and then a couple of days ago, someone drove into the side of our car and took off. Sigh.

But really, the heaviest thing weighing on my mind is the fact that we are quite seriously rehoming our dog, Skittles. We have thought about it on and off, for a number of reasons, but the main one being that she kept getting out of the house so we put her on a chain while trying to work out some solution, but nothing ever seemed to work. And we did get a dog trainer, but with two kids, a lot of the training was just going right out the window, with only ourselves to blame.

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She is on trial at the moment at a home where she’ll have a companion dog too, as well as a couple of primary-aged kids to play with. I am trying to imagine it in a sense that she’s getting married and will be living on with the in-laws. It’s not confirmed yet, but it sure is looking good. I have considered several times to march over there and get her back, but I really honestly want her to be happy too.

I never imagined I’d be the type of person who would give up my pet. In fact, she doesn’t feel like just a pet – she was my first child; one who I had to toilet train and to set boundaries with and even went to puppy school with. The one who I would have to boot off the sofa time and time again, the one who would nearly yank my arm off every time we took her for a walk, the one who even escaped so often into the neighbour’s garden that they took a picture of her lazing on their deckchair.

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I’m not sure how this will pan out, but I cannot deny this looming sense of loss.

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I know my rant above has nothing to do with the title, but it was one of the “ups” amidst the downs. I got an email saying that my blog was nominated in the 2016 Bupa Blog Awards, which is a real privilege. I don’t know if I’ll win (but I sure would like to) but it did put a smile in my face amidst the storm. You can read more about the blog awards HERE – the next stage will be to cross my fingers and see if I qualify as one of the finalists on the 4th of July. 🙂

bupa blog awards