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.

What a world we live in…

I’ve been dwelling on things that have been happening in the world and sometimes it just feels like this world is so sad.

I’m sure most of you have heard about the MH370 incident and, like me, are flabbergasted. I don’t know why it troubles me so much – perhaps because most of my Facebook friends are Malaysian and I get updates non-stop on my Facebook feed. I have friends who are pilots, who are quite vocal about the topic, and I also have friends inviting me to Candlelight Vigils in observance of this tragedy.

Perhaps because it is my home country’s national carrier, which I’ve used year after year without a moment’s hesitance. Perhaps it’s because I started to read about the profiles of the people on board – the pilots, the crew, the passengers… And then you don’t think of them as just part of a piece of news, but you see them for their roles – as a parent, as a child, as a colleague and as a friend…

It doesn’t help with all the speculation around the incident. I’ve read a number of theories that are really interesting but unfortunately don’t answer the question. It doesn’t help that one party says this and another party says another, and subsequently they retract their statements. Whether it’s poor leadership or irresponsible reporting, it does not provide closure for all the families waiting for news. 

I pray that answers will be revealed and that hearts will be comforted at this time.

Here is one of the ‘live update’ links, which I will be tuning into:
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/mh370-live-deliberate-action-taken-3242322

This morning, we also heard more sad news that is closer to home. A family that we know was involved in a terrible accident that left a 14-year-old and a 4-year-old dead, and most of the family in hospital in critical condition. Dan actually taught the 14-year-old at school – he says she had a wonderful, bubbly personality and will really be missed. 

I went to a funeral last week of a wonderful woman who lived well into her years and left behind a beautiful family. I’ve been to a few funerals of older people, but never for one for a child. It just doesn’t seem right for a parent to bury their child. As a mother, I can think that it would be the hardest thing one could ever do. 

This is the news report about the crash:
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/boy-and-girl-die-after-horror-crash-at-port-wakefield-rd-lower-light-while-cyclist-critically-injured-at-west-lakes/story-fni6uo1m-1226855444297

It just makes me remember how precious life is, and how blessed we are to be safely in our warm beds with a roof over our heads. I love to watch Jacob sleep because he makes me feel safe and at peace (yes, he actually has two arms but only one wriggled out of the swaddle):

Image

The world is indeed a fallen place; full of tragedy and sadness. But it is also a place where love and beauty can blossom. Today I also met my friend’s beautiful baby girl Ruby for the first time – I didn’t hold her because I have the tail end of a cold, but she is a gorgeous little girl.

When I think of babies, I think of the hymn “Because He Lives” written by Bill and Gloria Gaither. For those of you who haven’t heard of them (don’t worry, I didn’t know who they were til a few years ago), they are country gospel singers and songwriters who wrote many beautiful Christian songs. 

The story goes that Bill and Gloria were going through tough times and they were expecting a baby as well. It was the time of the hippie movement as well, where there was an increase of sexual infidelity and drug use that made them think about what a sad world it would be to raise a child in.

It inspired one of the most famous hymns of all time, and the lyrics of the second verse particularly touch my heart:

How sweet to hold a newborn baby, 
And feel the pride and joy he gives 
But greater still the calm assurance 
This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow 
Because He lives, all fear is gone. 
Because I know, I know, He holds the future 
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

I know not all my readers are Christians – but for myself, this song really grounds my faith and gives me hope. It reminds me that Jacob indeed has a life worth living and that I can show him that the world, amidst the sadness, is a world full of beauty and joy. 

And right now, he is my beauty and joy:

ImageHave a lovely weekend everyone!