This is not going to be the most fun post I have ever written but my life is not just about art…
You may have been wondering why I have been MIA for a little while and the reason is: I have been licking my wounds…
It has been about 6 weeks since my little dog Poppy died… and adjusting to life after sharing it with a fur baby for over 16 years is not easy!
It’s taken me so long to write this post, many attempts and many tears 😉
“If you don’t own a dog, at least one,
there is not necessarily anything wrong with you,
but there may be something wrong with your life.”
I remember meeting my best friend so clearly…
I still remember the day when him and I met, on a sunny afternoon in August 2012…
Since I had lost my childhood dog (I was 16 and he was 14), I always felt like something was missing…
It’s true what they say: having a dog means you are never alone!
All my child memories had a dog in it but because my first dog was always there, I took him for granted (I was just a toddler so I didn’t know any better).
It’s only when he passed away and when I felt the hole in my heart that I understood.
It took me about 3 years to stop crying about him whenever I thought of him!
I couldn’t wait to have another dog in my life but my adventures from France to the UK, Australia and back to the UK meant I couldn’t commit to getting another dog until I knew I wasn’t going to move anymore 😉
So when I moved back to Australia in July 2012 with no plans of leaving again, I immediately started searching for my canine companion.
I just could not wait!!! And it didn’t matter what kind of breed he would be, I just wanted to hold him and love him…
It didn’t take long until I noticed an ad in the newspaper (yes, newspaper! Do you remember the days??!) for a litter of Miniature Maltese puppies…
I rang and there was one left!! It was destiny! I didn’t have a car so I hoped on a train with a big shoulder bag and a towel at the bottom (you know, ”just in case” I wouldn’t come back home alone) and made the 1.5 hour journey out to West Sydney. Who was I kidding anyway… I already loved that puppy before I even met him!
The lady was kind enough to pick me up from the station and I when got to her home, she told me to hang on for a moment.
She soon returned and gently deposited a tiny white fluff ball into my arms… It was pure LOVE at first sight. Excuse me while I grab a tissue… or 10 😉
She asked me if I wanted to keep him and I am pretty sure I looked back at her as if she was seriously deranged…
Lady, you cannot be sane if you think this pup is EVER going to leave my arms!!!
She took me back to the train station and while I sat in a corner on the train with the most adorable puppy at the bottom of my bag on the seat next to me, I just couldn’t believe how lucky I was!!
The trip home dragged on a bit and it didn’t long for the fluff ball to start popping his head between the shoulder straps to see what was going on out there 🙂
I do know how I managed to hide him on the train then on the bus all the way home hahaha
The rest is history…
Once we were home, I took care of him day and night, no matter what. He was sooo adorable and so precious, I couldn’t get enough of him!
I must have said ”you are so cute…” in a gushy girly way at least a millions times during his life, and I am not exaggerating!
What a joy to teach him little things like climbing one step or shaking hands…
He followed me wherever I went, would try to pull my leg for attention when I was on the phone, and made me laugh so much with his little manners!
I tried to give him space and let him sleep in another room at first but one stormy weather frightened him and what kind of person leaves a frightened puppy alone?
By my side of the bed he slept forever after 😉
I can honestly I never met (now or then) a dog with such personality! And I wouldn’t have changed any of it for anything in the world 😉
He had a very long, healthy life, full of naps by the warm heater or in the sun, of delicious chicken breast (his favourite), of running around at the beach, fun roadtrips and so many cuddles…
All goods things must come to an end they say and even though I never thought about it, there is no other way…
Getting used to feeling stressed…
Stress is not something I welcome and I’ve always managed it in small doses throughout my life but…
When it comes to my dog, everything goes out the window!!
The last year of Poppy’s life was really stressful (for me mostly) as we found out he had doggy dementia (Alzheimer) and kidney disease 🙁
I will write another post about how we what we did to manage all that for those of you who may be in a similar situation!
We had no idea when the end would come, all that mattered was to make sure Poppy wasn’t in pain in physically and psychologically.
Towards the end though, dementia felt contagious as Pete and I would take turns at night to look after Poppy, just so one of us could at least get a little sleep.
I would read posts in Facebook groups (this one is great if you are looking after a senior dog) and everyone would say ”you will know when the time is right” (you know, to make that awful decision for your dog)…
The truth is, no matter how often I asked myself that, I just didn’t know when the time would be right. There would be moments I’d think ”oh no, is this it???” and then it would be ”no you silly, everything is fine!”.
So… Up and down I went on the emotional roller coaster, for months and months, constantly on the lookout for a ”sign”….
(I will write another post about ”when the time is right” because that’s a big topic which I hope will help others)
This is the End… My only friend, the End…
I had to finally make the decision, and once I did, things happened very quickly because I knew there was no more time to waste.
I called the vet to make an appointment for the following day. He came along with a nurse and everything was sad of course, but overall quite peaceful…
And certainly not as bad as I had anticipated because I made the decision, it wasn’t made for me when I wasn’t expecting it…
We were living on the edge of the sword for so long (meaning we knew Poppy could go suddenly) so we had been prepared about what to do next.
Most people cremate their dog but when I found out that you actually have to leave your dog with the vet ”after” (or in our case the vet would have taken him away), and that it can take up to 12 hours for the cremation to happen I thought…
1. There is no way I want to EVER be separated from my dog
2. How do I know what ashes I am getting back? Is it really my dog??
There was no question about it, we decided to bury him in our garden.
I had found a beautiful little chest and lined it up with his nicest little dog clothes, his cute ties that made him look so cheeky and his favourite toys.
We wrapped him in his soft fleece blanked and laid him on top, closed the lid and Pete and I lowered the chest into the ground.
I placed his dog bowl on top of the chest, as you would place a flower for a person, and we filled the hole.
We felt sad but strangely at peace too and it was so good to do this together…
After cleaning the house a little, we checked out a couple of nurseries and purchased a lovely bird bath, glass pebbles and some pretty flowers…
Drove back home and made a beautiful memorial for our beloved Poppy that we can go to whenever we want.
Now it’s all about finding ways to cope and getting used to the idea… I can tell you that 6 weeks later, it hurts way more than right after.
I think I felt numb for quite a while but after printing some photos of all 3 of us having fun and hanging them on the wall last week, reality decided to sink in!
When the tears come, I just let them come, even if it happens when I’m walking in the street (triggers are everywhere and it can happen anytime)…
But deep down, I know my Poppy is happier now, he had an amazing long life, filled with love, road trips, chicken breast and crunchy things (popcorn and doritos!), and millions of hugs and kisses.
And even though I pushed myself to write about the bad time, from now on I choose to only remember the good stuff.
And before long, there will be another fluff ball to love and hug and kiss because, a life is not complete without a dog in it 🙂
“Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love and loyalty.
They depart to teach us about loss.
A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart.
If you have loved many dogs, your heart is very big.”
– Erica Jong