When I was 17 I was given a small, ginger, very scruffy little Yorkshire terrier. She became my baby and was, accordingly, carted everywhere with me.
When I was 19 I bought a house with my boyfriend, she came with me. When I left him, she came too. When I was 21 I moved in with a new boyfriend. He was violent, I cried into her fur. He wouldn’t let me leave the house, she stayed with me. I escaped home to my mum’s, she followed. When I was 26 I married The Ex-Husband and she came down the aisle with me. When I was 27 I gave birth to Miss Rose and she protectively lay beside the sleeping baby, jealous for sure, but fiercely protective.
After The Ex-Husband left again I cried on her, and I cuddled her, and she unquestioniningly took it. When we moved to our new home she was happy as long as she was with me. At twelve years old, which for a dog is old, with cataracts that stopped her seeing well, she came for hours and hours of walks with me because it cleared my head.
She is now an old lady. She has a cough, she is half blind, and she is nervous. She has been living in a house with two toddlers who don’t understand that she can’t see them coming. Will go to stroke her and she jumps, they’ll charge past her and she will panic. They can’t stop being kids and she is starting to get upset by them.
She has never bitten, she has never been even a little aggressive, but she is a dog. She has started to twitch, offer warning growls, and try to hide whilst they chase around. She has given warning snaps. Nothing to make contact, but enough. Enough that I am aware and enough that I am scared it will go further if nothing is done.
I have sent her to live with my mum. For twelve years I have loved that dog and now I have sent her away. I feel so guilty, and so bereft of pet, but I know it’s the right decision.
If she ever bit one of the kids I know I would never forgive myself. I could never forgive her and she would have to go. But, I know, it wouldn’t be because she’s a bad dog it would be because she is old and scared. I don’t want to put her in the position that reacts like that, I don’t want to risk the children. She is such a good girl and, as far as one can trust a dog, I have always trusted her. But the risk has stepped up and that’s a risk too far.
We can still see her when we visit my mum, and that’s brilliant. I know she’s happy there and my mum and dad love her to bits. But does she feel abandoned? Does she wonder why she has been sent away when she hasn’t done anything wrong? Does she think I don’t love her anymore?
My mum sends me photos, pictures of my little dog playing with her little dog. Pictures of her cuddled up in bed with my mum, being fed treats, and snuggled happily asleep in blankets. She’s not surrounded by noisy children, she’s not being stroked with too much enthusiasm, and she is happily sleeping whenever she wants.
I know it is kinder to her, I know she will be more relaxed there, but oh my gosh I miss her.
I now live in a house devoid of animals… other than children and a man, all of whom have animalistic qualities… and that is a very strange state for me.
She’s a good girl. I know it’s for the best. I know it keeps her and my children safe. But it sucks and I miss her.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!