The ordinary moment this week is of T1 and our labradoodle, Ted, curled up on the sofa watching TV together.
Ted is just coming up to two years old and we all adore him. He’s a challenge – he loves to chew cuddly toys and bits of wooden train track (which we have a lot of!), he pulls on the lead when he gets over excited and he’s very nervous of other people, and I spend my days cleaning up after him (he gets to muddy and has so much pet hair to groom!) but he’s our dog and we all love him.
We got him the week before I fell pregnant with E, so she has grown up climbing all over him. He doesn’t mind her grabbing handfuls of his curls and constantly tries to lick her as though she’s his puppy. She giggles and opens her mouth to lick him back so I have to step in. She likes to share her food with him – I often catch her taking a lick of a bread stick and then handing it over to him for a lick before moving it back towards her mouth. Having a dog with young kids is incredibly hard, and there have been times I’ve wondered if I’m strong enough to keep going with it because he needs so much attention and exercise, but we hate the way the house feels empty without him.
We never expected to be making the move to Australia when we got him. It was the impending likelihood of redundancy that made us look into it again. One of our biggest decisions about going has been what to do with Ted. We looked into taking him and there wouldn’t be much change from £5k for the flight, medical expenses and quarantine. That on it’s own wasn’t a deal breaker (although we really can’t afford that on top of the estimated £20k cost to relocate us as a family, which is coming out of our house equity), but research has shown it will be difficult to find a house to rent with a big dog and we’re going to have to rent for a year so we can decide where we’d like to buy. Add to that the fact he’s a nervous dog who will be very upset being away from us for days in quarantine. It just won’t work.
We’ve had moments of thinking we have to work out a way to take him but we know that practically we just can’t do it. This week we’ve started to explore new families to take him on. It’s so so difficult. The first family we met loved him but he was too much of a handful for them as they’d never had a dog before, let alone a big puppy like him. The next couple we considered lived in a flat and decided they’d be better with an older, smaller dog instead. The third family have young kids and another dog and we aren’t sure if he’s going to be too much for them as he needs ongoing training as well as lots of reassurance. Trying out new families is emotionally draining for us and probably isn’t much fun for him either.
Re-homing a dog is heartbreaking, but what makes it worse is being in a state of limbo. I’m scared to play with him and cuddle him because I’m getting more and more attached. It feels like we’re giving one of our children away. Our priority is making sure we find a new home for him that is just right, so we’re being very particular about it.
My ‘ordinary moment’ is something that I want to treasure because we might not be able to sit and cuddle him on the sofa for much longer. Whenever I look into these big brown eyes I crumble and burst into tears. Moving to Australia might be exciting, but it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.