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.

Breaking point.

I wouldn’t call myself the expressive type – it probably will be my downfall one day. I’m just the type of person who just functions until I can function no more. Sometimes it’s worth it, just to get by, and other times I reckon it is just detrimental to my health.

Lately, I reached one of those breaking points- the trigger probably was the whole giving away the dog thing, but really there is so much more going on the background. It’s no mean feat taking care of an almost 3 year old and a 3 month old as well – I’m not going to lie, there are days that I have depended on the TV to gain us all some sanity, and there are nights that I don’t know if I want to go to sleep for the fear that I will see every hour of the night before the morning…

Not to mention my meagre attempt at keeping the house clean (and being thwarted by the toddler every time) as well as external commitments to things like church, work, etc. which I think are good for me, but are also just another thing to add into the plethora of things already going on in my head.

And then there’s the guilt – the guilt of not doing enough for my dog. The guilt of not doing enough for my husband and my children. The guilt of calling myself a Christian but not devoting enough time to building my relationship with God. The guilt of not having a stable career to give my husband an opportunity to be a full-time dad. The guilt of the uncertain future, daunting as much as it is promising. The guilt of not having the courage to do certain things or the wisdom to let go of other things.

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But anyway, that point – it broke last weekend. And thank goodness I had the long weekend to recover, because I think it helped me become functional again. Also, thank goodness for the sunshine, because everything feels better in the sunlight. And I can’t admit I have everything worked out, but I feel that perhaps I am taking small steps in the right direction again.

I suppose I’m trying to give a bit of advice here, though I never listen to my own advice, do I? Don’t let things reach a breaking point. If something is bugging you, don’t just sweep it under the doormat. Talk about it, write about it, sing about it even. Let it come out into the open so that it doesn’t poison your mind and your heart. And then let it go – let it float away, until you feel as light as a feather and can face the next thing life is going to throw at you. And then be at peace, with your decisions and with yourself.

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Anyway, I’m going to pull out this gem from my youth. I used to write songs since a child but perhaps the “darker” songs emerged from as early as 12 years old. I think I was about 14 when I wrote this – I only vaguely remember the melody, but I remember why I wrote it:

look again, am I the one that you know?
look inside, cos I’m the one you don’t understand
look around, it is falling in place
look at me, I am frozen in time

cos it’s hard to breathe
and inside my eyes it’s zero degrees
and I’m looking for the fire, the flame
but it’s gone, blown out, just like you…

and I was afraid this would happen
and I am afraid I can’t control myself
so I didn’t know that it was the breaking point
now my blood is cold and I can’t go on…

now I find, that it isn’t that simple
now I see, what the meaning of sacrifice is
now I know, how unities divide
and now I feel I can no longer survive

cos it’s hard to get by
and in my eyes
I’m frozen in a lie
and I’m looking for the fire, the flame
but it’s gone, blown out, just like you…
but it’s gone, put out, just like you…

and I was afraid this would happen
and I am afraid I cant control myself
so I didn’t know that it was the breaking point
now my blood is cold and I can’t go on…

how long is eternity
can it return my destiny
how long is life going on, going on, going on…

look again, am I the one that you know?
look inside, cos I’m the one you don’t understand
look around, it is falling in place
look at me, I am… going on, going on…

and I was afraid this would happen
and I am afraid I can’t control myself
so I didn’t know that it was the breaking point
now my blood is cold and I cant go on…

and I was afraid this would happen
and I am afraid I can’t control myself
so I didn’t know that it was the breaking point
now my blood is cold and I cant go on…

Here’s to the 14-year-old wisdom of my youth, something I need to call upon time and time again. 🙂 Have a great week!