It is a sad day in our home; from one day to the next we both welcomed and had to say goodbye to Shale, the beautiful black/brown and unmistakably enthusiastic Pug.
We were recently presented with an opportunity to give a home to this creature, a chance for her to have a stable nest and the companionship of another Pug. We are both logical and sensible people and we do not enter into drastic and life changing decisions on a mere whim. We thought on it for some considerable time and we both figured that we had taken all of the variables into account before saying yes to welcoming this little bundle of fur and furious excitability. We ensured she was not aggressive to other dogs, that she was relatively sociable, that she would not bring any contagions into our home, that she was healthy and not physically damaged to the point of irreparable physical or mental abuse. We were pleased to find out that she was a happy, healthy and lively little creature and so we decided to say yes and thus welcomed her home.
Her first hours with us were an explosive episode of excitement and curiosity as she frantically explored her new surroundings. From the grass to the wood to the steel of the bird feeder; she could not contain her desire to greet and sniff everything and anything she could shove her tiny nose into. We gave her a bath, cleaned her eyes, starting making plans for trips to the vets and for her to be micro-chipped. Even when she was faced with her first proper bout of training she was so ridiculously adorable. My fiance was teaching her to sit with treat filled bribery and with some degree of minor success. I tried to get her to stay put on command and I couldn’t help but smile as she stubbornly tried to creep closer and closer to me just so she could jump up and show me how much she wants to lick my beard into oblivion. She had and continues to have so much love and affection to give.
We were certain we could make her happy. But no one can predict every possible outcome and so as the evening progressed into the night we came to the unfortunate realisations that we may not be able to keep her after all. Pugs are known for their breathing difficulties and some suffer more than others amongst the breed. We found out that she had no such issues in her former residence but we live above a cellar that is rampant with damp. This means that the front of our home is quite humid, so much that we have to deploy a dehumidifier as we sleep, and this of course meant that little Shale was breathing far too uncomfortably. This issue does not seem to affect Oghren at all and so why were we to think it would have such a negative impact on this little one? Even though she seemed relatively content to persevere, it was difficult for both of us to watch her labour through the simple act of breathing and so we moved her to the back of the house where she could get some sleep.
The second variable was Oghren, our beloved Pug who has spent the last three and some years almost exclusively in our company. He is not uncomfortable around other people, nor is he too perturbed in the presence of other dogs. But we found the unfortunate way out that he does not like to share his home or his masters. He was acting distant and aloof, struggling to adapt to the newcomer as he tentatively tried to move around his own home. He became so stressed by the rambunctious little black Pug that he vomited on several occasions. He just didn’t seem to be able to settle as he would normally and there was our other problem. Oghren should not have to wait to adapt to a newcomer and he should not have to be nervous or stressed to the point of physical problems in his own home. Pugs are sociable creatures and we thought that given some time together they would eventually become close friends. But they were just too different. Oghren is calm, disciplined and loving. Shale is energetic, undisciplined and used to a life with few boundaries. There was no aggression from either dog whatsoever, but we felt it would be unfair to just expect them to have to get used to each other. We could not do that to Shale and we will not do that to Oghren.
I know what some of you must be thinking, that we should have given it more time. But it would have been so very selfish of us to have kept her here with us just so we could have another pet to adore despite how uncomfortable it was for her to breathe or for Oghren to settle down. And so we decided to return her to where she would have a better chance of finding a more suitable owner and a more fitting home. To return her before she became too attached to us and our home that she would not want to leave at all. That did not stop us from becoming instantly enraptured with her though.
The simple facts are that Oghren was overtly stressed, so much that he had to spend the night with us, and Shale was struggling to simply breathe. No amount of desire to love a creature is enough justification to inflict such miseries on them or any other animal.
I am not ashamed to admit that when we had to give her back, I shed a tear and my heart broke a little. It did not take long for me to appreciate what a wonderful bundle of enthusiasm and playfulness she is and I hope to all and any gods that may or may not exist that she finds a stable and loving home soon, she most definitely deserves to be happy. We both wish that it could have been here with us, but some things are just not meant to be. The one good thing to come out of this was that it made us appreciate just how much we love Oghren just that little bit more, something we did not think possible.
And to those insensitive arseholes amongst you that are reading this and thinking ‘just stop being such a pansy and move on, it’s just a dog’. Fuck you! I will never know what it is like to be a father but I do know what it is to care for my pet and that my life would be a hollower place without him there to welcome me every morning. I pity those of you who are so heartless as to consider the welfare or well-being of any animal pointless.
So I beg of you all, respect and love your pets just as they love and respect you. And please, give them a bloody great hug from me.
With a heavy heart, Forged From Reverie.