How long before a dog realises that they’re not coming home? She had a goofy smile on her face as the car drove away, and it took all I had not to cry in front of her. I was naive to think it would be easier than this. I’m glad it was raining, because I was sitting in parking lot...bawling my eyes out. I don’t normally allow myself to be that openly emotional. That level of vulnerability is rare for me.
I realised that she was really gone...and it hurt so bad.
It’s so easy to focus on that sadness, but the next day I woke up feeling better. Knowing that she is now bringing happiness to someone else’s life is what made me get through the night. There was an email from her new home, and that she was settling in well. Even had a good run at the beach, just like I knew would.
Why rehome her so far from home? I hoped to give us both a chance to start over, and no doubt in her mind that he would now be her new alpha. He is a towering sight at six foot three. JC has a lot of love to give, and will make a great companion for him in his retirement years. I gave him her tug toy and squeaky tennis balls. Sometimes she doesn’t even mind if we didn’t play tug with it, usually just wanted me to watch her as she chewed on it. We get each other like that.
On our last night together in Whakatane, we watched the Mighty Ducks on my laptop. She did her best to lie on me, pretending to be oblivious to the fact she is more than half my weight. Towards the middle of the movie, I noticed her snoring. She didn’t even get to see the Mighty Ducks take out the Pee Wee Championship! My laptop’s battery was at 10%, so I packed up and gave her a pat so she could sleep. She popped her head up in a sleepy haze, then went back to sleep.
As I stepped out into the backyard today, I scouted the lawn for dog poop. There were none. Sigh. Dad must have scooped up the last ones after we left on Saturday morning. I haven’t been into the conservatory yet (where she used to sleep), but I have to go in there this week to clean up and vacuum the dog hair. It will smell of dog of course, and that will be hard.
In my life, I have had to put down two cats and rehome a dog. The cats we had came to us as adults, and it was extra hard to see them get sick. I had JC since she was about eight weeks old, and the closest I have come to being responsible for another life.
People have been asking if I was OK, and I tell them that right now, I’m good. I guess only time will tell how I’ll feel about going back to ‘our’ beach by myself. Or not having to go through the charade every time she needed a bath. Deep down, I know she actually enjoys not smelling like whatever dead thing she rubbed herself on at the beach. I could go on forever, but this post isn’t about that.
It is about the love of a dog, and how she taught me that it's OK to feel and openly express that love. That it's safe for me to just be me, and those that don't want that, will simply fall away. Be the person she saw in the four short years we had together...yes, this is a new beginning for us both, it's not going to be easy, but I know we'll be happy.
Ronna Grace Funtelar is a thirtyish storyteller, creative, writer and slam poet currently based in New Zealand. She is a hobby hiker, photography and sunrise enthusiast with a passion for mindfully helping others live beyond their comfort zone.
Basically, a shorty who knows her life purpose.