Better to have loved and lost
I haven’t blogged in a long time because I just haven’t had time. You see we’ve made a life-changing decision (which I will blog about at some point) to leave London and move to Mauritius. I don’t want to go into that now because that’s not what this blog post is about, the whole story about our move will come later.
What I do want to write about today. No, what I need to write about today, is about the hardest decision of my life so far.
We have 4 pets – a dog and 3 cats – and we made the incredibly tough decision not to take them to Mauritius with us, for numerous reasons which I won’t go into now. I have absolutely no regrets about this decision, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
Today is our first goodbye. Today our darling dog, Courage (pronounced KOO-RARJ), is moving to his new home (our 3 cats go to their new homes in a month’s time) and I have to admit I’m really struggling to hold it together. So I’m writing this blog post, through tears, in the hope that it’ll be cathartic.
First of all I have to say that I couldn’t be happier about the family we have found for him, they really are perfect and I know they are all going to be so happy together, which makes me happy too.
But I will miss him horribly. That I know for sure.
Growing up I was terrified of dogs. In fact, petrified is a better word. We had no pets when I was little, and I knew very few people who had dogs, so this fear grew and grew.
When I moved to France, I met my first French boyfriend’s family and they had dogs. I was terrified, but I got to know them, and love them. Gradually I overcame my huge fear and became more and more comfortable around dogs.
When Hubs and I got married and started talking about having babies I knew that I wanted my children to grow up with a family dog. I didn’t want them to develop the same fear of dogs that I’d had.
In the first trimester of my pregnancy with our eldest, L, I got a phone call from a local dog shelter who knew we were interested in adopting a young labrador. She wanted to know if we could home one straight away.
She told me about a 6 month old black labrador crossed with a Belgian Shepherd dog who had been abandoned. It turned out that all the local dog shelters were full, and if they couldn’t home him he would be put down within 12 days.
Hubs and I agreed that I would meet him (I was on sick leave due to low blood pressure from the pregnancy) and we would make a decision. I fell in love with this, the most beautiful dog I’d ever seen. He was such a softie, with a sad face, and was so eager to please.
We named him Courage which in French means bravery – like in English – but also kind of means luck over diversity. For example if you’ve got an obstacle to overcome people will say to you “Courage” or “bon courage”. It seemed so apt for him after his abandonment.
I was nervous about getting a puppy before having a baby. Everyone said to do it the other way round to avoid any issues of jealousy. But it was never a problem with Courage. He loved L from the get-go and used to lie with his face and paws on her baby gym while she played. Then when our younger daughter, C, came along he put up with having two children pulling at him and climbing on him, in such a good-natured way.
When we left France to move to the UK we placed him with friends of friends for the 6 month period while we waited for his rabies jab to be valid. So I have already experienced living without him and saying goodbye to him.
But today it is for good. Courage is going to his new home today. And my heart is breaking. I know it is for the best. I know he would be unhappy in Mauritius as he wouldn’t handle the heat, not to mention the obstacles of getting him out there. Equally I know that Mauritius is such a good opportunity for us that we’d be crazy not to grab it. Last but not least I know that the family adopting Courage are going to shower him with love in his new home, he will have a much bigger garden to run around in, a beach to run along and woods to frolic in nearby.
I know in my head that it is right and everything will be ok. The problem is convincing my heart that this is the case, as I write this through tears.
I don’t ever regret adopting that 6 month old puppy. He might have chewed our house and belongings to bits when we first got him, but we loved him, still love him and always will love him, even when he is with his new family.
Do I ever regret getting a dog for our kids? Never. Our girls are so happy and comfortable around dogs now, and I’m sure that will stay with them forever, even if they won’t be growing up with a dog anymore.
Even though I feel so desperately sad today I am happy too. Happy for the new family who are about to experience a whole new world of joy and love as they welcome Courage into their home and their hearts. Happy that my baby will continue to know love and happiness, just with new people.
I don’t regret getting Courage and I don’t regret giving him to his new family. Despite the pain of it all what will remain are the happy memories, and I truly believe that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
I love you Courage. Live long, be happy and don’t fart too much for your new family!