Tag Archives: dog ears

The longest goodbye

When I was 9 my family moved from Hong Kong to Japan. I wasn’t particularly upset about moving to a new country other than two wholly devastating events. I had to bid farewell to both my best friend and my dog. My parents decided that leaving him behind would be the best thing, considering that Tokyo was a concrete jungle bereft of green parks and places for a long-eared basset hound to run free.
I can still recall the tears. My friend I could talk to on the phone, perhaps even see again but my dog, keeper of my secrets, lover of my bed? No. It was goodbye forever.

Now as we embark upon the Great Departure from Trinidad I look at my two daughters, 9 and 12 and see history repeating itself.
We have a gorgeous dog; brown eyed, long in the ear, soft to the touch. We brought her with us from Canada and wept as we watched her endure the 4 months wait in Montreal, the long flight and the 1 month in quarantine before she finally arrived. She is named Zola and we call her our bear. We spend many a moment staring at her in awe. She is sweetness incarnate.

Yet we have decided to leave our beloved dog behind. She will not be joining us in Africa. This decision is based upon many factors, mainly practicality and the quality of life for our dog. The logistics of shipping a dog from Trinidad to Kampala are horrific, but can be overcome despite expense, time, and discomfort for the dog. But once in Uganda we have no idea if our apartment allows dogs, who would watch her when we leave to travel and explore, nor how she could endure the 6 month quarantine that would be demanded of her when we leave and try to bring her back. It goes without saying that the nomadic lifestyle we have unwittingly adopted is wholly unsuited to dog ownership. It is hard enough to drag a whole family across two continents, let alone an innocent and sweet unwilling pet.

Practicalities and rational thought aside, this whole affair is breaking my heart. 31 years after the fact I am reliving the terrible farewell I bid to the first dog I loved. Here I am doing it again. I cannot say the words out loud “she is just a dog”. She is not “just” anything. I have raised her from a pup, cleaned up all of her bodily secretions, trained her, loved her, and slept with her. The bond between her and the family is one that travels deep.

We are all silently dealing with this in our own way. We awake sad and slightly shocked; we look at her, touch her and stare into her eyes as if for the last time. The next 4 weeks will be the longest goodbye.
Last night she slept beside my youngest, curled beside her head like a pillow. At night she likes to visit us, one by one in our beds, a quick check to ensure her pack is in place.

Will her heart break like ours?

 

windswept-puppy

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Filed under Family Stuff, I love dogs

MR. Mom and the dog ear cleaner

It is not a common occurrence that a mother leaves the roost in the capable hands of the father for 10 days, but I did just that. I have been home a week now and I have observed some small but significant changes.
First, they managed so splendidly without me that I have been made aware that I am no longer indispensable. My role, while of course still crucial, has shifted somewhat. For example, the only thing that went even slightly wrong in my absence is that during the transfer from one lemon car to another, a lovely beach chair was lost. This had nothing to do with parenting and everything to do with the tendency that handsome husband has to lose something every few months.
Second, MR. Mom has moved in. When my daughter needs ear drops, it is MR. Mom to the rescue. When a yummy Saturday lunch is wanted, once again it is MR. Mom to the rescue. When I arrived back from the London cold, coughing and spluttering it was MR. Mom who handed me a fizzy vitamin C drink every morning.
Third, MR. Mom has learnt a very important fact. Not only did he realize that he can survive so well without me, but that he can actually do it better! A Delicious meal incorporating ALL 5 food groups? Ask MR. Mom. Valentines Day pancakes with maple syrup? Ask MR. Mom. Chocolates for the valentine’s daughters? Ask MR. Mom. 

I think tonight he is making Risotto. Luckily, the fact that I have no Penis prevents me from feeling emasculated.
When asked what exactly my purpose was, now that finer dining, Band-Aids, nail cutting and reading with young ones has been taken over, I was handed Dog Ear Cleaning and Giver of Kisses.
Kiss, Kiss.

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Filed under Family Stuff, Might be funny