This year has been quite a ride for me. Sometimes this roller coaster made me want to vomit, sometimes it made me want to cry and there were times that it made me laugh uncontrollably. I will never forget how the ride felt on September 8th…
I had recently broken up with my boyfriend of almost 6 years. I want to mention that this was my first relationship, first love and first breakup. (This may seem irrelevant to this post, but I feel like I should set the tone for future posts and make note of this).
Anyway, together we shared two dogs that we bought when we first started dating. I know that sounds crazy, and it absolutely was. I definitely don’t regret the day that we picked them up, but I will never again make such a huge life choice with someone I’ve just met. I also wonder how differently things could have gone if we didn’t have them in our lives. Alas, how could any 19 year-old girl say no to two adorable puppies. It was love at first sight.
I chose a blonde female and named her Bella. She was the cutest puppy I had ever seen. She had a tiny little body and a huge head with these big, gorgeous brown eyes that nobody could say no to. My fondest memory of Bella was my first Christmas in the city away from my family and new boyfriend. I would have been completely alone for Christmas that year had it not been for my Bella. A lot of things were going on around that time. A lot of tears were shed and I had way too much time alone with my own thoughts. Had it not been for her nuzzling into me and cuddling with me those lonely nights, I don’t know how the holidays would have panned out for me.
We kept the dogs separate for the first few months after a bit of a rough patch between my then boyfriend and I. We decided to move in together the following year. Bella and her brother K-C were best pals. They cuddled together, played together, and chewed on shoe laces together. They kept each other company, and pissed each other off. They were exactly how siblings should be and I loved them both so much.
In the summer of 2008 we decided to move our little family across the country to Vancouver, BC. As the dogs started getting older and developing their own personalities we started noticing that they were actually TERRIBLE together. They are a hunting breed so when you put them in any pack-like environment things get ugly. They would feed off of each other’s energy and ended up getting us into quite a bit of trouble at times. I also started to become really sick and couldn’t pinpoint why. I could never breathe clearly; I developed chronic lung infections and rashes. My eyes would burn and I was always so irritable. It had never occurred to me that I had allergies because I have never been allergic to anything before, not even pollen. I finally saw a specialist and low and behold – I was severely allergic to dogs. What a sad day.
When my ex-boyfriend and I decided that it was time for us to go our separate ways I had been in denial about the entire dog situation. There were discussions about where Bella would go and I had always assumed that she would still be close and I would get to visit her. Keeping both dogs was just not an option for my ex-boyfriend, and rightfully so. He had so much on his plate at that time, and who wants a constant reminder of your ex staring you in your eyes every morning you wake up? I can’t blame him one bit for not keeping her.
Finding her a new home was challenging. I was extremely picky with potential adopters. I wanted nothing but the absolute best for my girl, because she deserved that and no less. After many failed attempts at finding her a suitable home, I ended up contacting a rescue on Vancouver Island that would take her and place her in the best hands possible. The animals this organization takes are never in a facility and go right into a loving home until they are adopted permanently. I felt like that was the best choice for us. I had been corresponding with one of the coordinators for a couple weeks before finally making the decision that I would “surrender” Bella to the rescue. The woman I spoke to was very understanding to my situation and I felt like she truly cared about Bella and I. We arranged to meet at the ferry terminal on September 8th where I would say goodbye to Bella for the last time.
I remember being really positive throughout the whole experience. I would constantly re-assure myself that this was the best possible choice for everyone involved, because it was. When I moved out of the apartment that my ex-boyfriend and I shared the month prior, Bella stayed with him and K-C. I was deathly allergic to her and could not take her to my new townhouse. The morning of September 8th I woke up in tears. I showered in tears, I got dressed in tears and I commuted in tears. It had been a few weeks since I’d seen either of them so when I showed up to pick her up, they both greeted me ecstatically. That was when I really broke down. I’m choking back tears as I write this as a matter of fact.
I stayed for a while, chatted with my ex-boyfriend as Bella was lying on my lap. She knew.
When my ride arrived and it was time to make our way to the ferry, we said our goodbyes. I cried, he cried and K-C and Bella said goodbye to each other and we were on our way. My very good friend picked me up from my old apartment and tried to make conversation as we drove to Horseshoe Bay. What do you even say to someone who is going through something like this? We both did our best to laugh and chat about things and as we did, Bella rested her head on my leg and stared at me until she fell asleep.
When we got to the terminal all three of us were restless – Bella especially. She was shaking and wouldn’t leave my side. I just kept petting her, fighting back tears. When I finally saw Cecily, the woman who was taking Bella, I couldn’t hold back anymore. I started bawling. She hugged me tightly and as she told me everything would be okay, she started crying too. By that point my friend also began tearing up. So here were three grown women crying and hugging and sharing the same emotion, and as heartbreaking as it was, it made me feel like I wasn’t alone, like Bella wouldn’t be alone. I gave the leash to Cecily and started walking away. Bella just stared at me as I left her there with this stranger. I looked back once and I wish I hadn’t. She wouldn’t budge. She just stared at me. It was a heavy moment.
My friend wrapped her arm around me and we walked back to her car. I cried for a while on the way home and then I pulled myself together. The whole time I thought that I was ripping her away from everything she knew, and that she would hate me. The reality is that dogs don’t feel the way humans do. I did show up at her house and take her away from her brother and other owner. I did give her to a complete stranger, but Bella didn’t hate me that day. In fact, I did Bella and I a favor. Not only was she about to embark on a new chapter in her life, I was too. She will go on to a loving home and I would finally have some closure with everything that was going on. It was a win-win for both of us that I tried to remember throughout the entire process but let my emotions make me think otherwise.
Cecily kept me updated on Bella for a few weeks after she took her. It’s been a while since I have e-mailed her for more updates, I don’t know if it’s because I am scared to know what has happened to her or if I am just at peace with the situation and know she is living a happy life.
Although September 8th was one of the hardest days of my adult life, I have no regrets. I will always love my little fatty, and I know she is living the wonderful life that she deserves.