Thursday, 4 April 2013

Goodbye my furry friend

Besides the tough farewells to family and friends, today I have the horrible task of saying goodbye to my naughty little furry friend Winnie. Once more my brain has sprung into action at 3am, cruelly to remind me that today is the day I have been dreading for this very reason. Having had Winnie in our lives and by our sides, through the good times and the bad, for the past year and eight months, leaving her behind is a wrench for David and me.

Carie and I collected Winnie and Bear from Kent on a gorgeous sunny August day and I remember our excitement, tinged with guilt, as we drove them away from their mum and other brothers and sisters, to Hamble. Neither of us were fully aware of quite what we were letting ourselves in for. No one had mentioned to us about the sleep deprivation during the first couple of weeks when we had to get up regularly throughout the night to let them out to pee, to get them house trained. We didn't know that you couldn't leave them alone for two minutes without them scattering the contents of a bin around a room or shredding apart a new loo roll - like a possessed Andrex puppy. We hadn't considered that we may feel guilty when we locked up our playful puppies in their crates and left for work as they pawed relentlessly at the clanging doors, hoping to be set free to create more havoc. Yet despite our lack of mental preparation, neither of us would have changed our decision to get our Winnie and Bear.

There have been the lows - when I discovered Winnie had chewed my pink suede heels, followed by my red patent leather heels, and to my complete disgust, my Irregular Choice heels. There was the 'nest' I discovered under our bed which consisted of the shredded contents of our bathroom bin. The time when Winnie murdered a rabbit during a walk and then refused to drop it or come back to us when we called, until she had finished skinning and eating it. When we arrived to see a cousin's brand new house and Winnie chose to 'christen' the pristine carpet with a very liquid and pungent turd. And a particular low was returning home from a boat trip to discover the entire downstairs of our house carpeted with feathers after Winnie and Bear had chosen to have a tug-of-war with a cushion in our absence.

But her plus points have always far outweighed these 'minor' defects. The way she knows when I am feeling down and she will jump up on my knee and cuddle me - her way of telling me everything will turn out fine. How she paws me when she wants me to carry on stroking her or to share my food with her - and incidentally, she is the only person/ animal that I am prepared to share my food with. The way she digs in her food bowl to hint that she is starving and needs more, and how she literally howls with excitement to see me when I get home from work at the end of the day. The way she drags me to break into a trot when she is on the lead and the springy gazelle-like jumps for joy she does when I walk her through the woods. And her endless patience when she is bribed to do 'high-fives' and 'spins' to keep children entertained.

In the same way that a parent believes their children are the best - I am convinced that Winnie is the best dog ever. I love her unconditionally and I am going to miss her so much. Also I love my parents so much for offering to take on our perfect pooch while David and I live in Hong Kong. This has spared us the heartbreak of rehoming her and means we can be reunited with her when we return home. Thank you so much Marge and Rickster, and Annie, who has kindly relinquished her role as only dog daughter.

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