Go on. I defy you. Look this dog in the eye and say “So long, Molly. We’re off – without you.”
You couldn’t, could you. Neither could we.
Six months ago in January 2021, she (and we) lost her life-long companion. It was heartbreaking, and we all grieved.
Molly spent days looking for Moe. She sniffed her way to and from the park every morning – something she’d never done before – and curled up in a sad little ball at home, sleeping for most of the day.
She aged before our eyes, slowly becoming a little less agile and spirited as each week passed. Eventually, we made the sad decision that the long journey to London may be too much for our beloved 14 year old dog. Our departure date for the UK was looming and we couldn’t put it off any longer. It was time to re-house her.
I found a dog lovers’ account on Facebook and posted a message. I was encouraged by the genuine sympathy and support I received from total strangers. At least 4 of them readily offered to take Molly in and we were comforted by the safety net they offered.
“I need to take it slowly and gently,” I told them. “Perhaps I could bring Molly round to meet you. Maybe even leave her for a night or two so you can all get used to each other over the coming weeks.”
Molly would watch me on the phone.
“I know you’re talking about me,” her eyes would say.
“Don’t leave me,” they’d emplore.
I’d hang up and cry.
How can it feel so devastatingly awful, so soul-destroyingly sad, to do the right thing?
She’s too old. The journey would be too stressful. It’s too expensive. These were all the rational, sensible, right reasons for leaving Molly behind. Or, at least, that’s what everyone kept telling us.
But they didn’t have to look into those big brown, emploring eyes.
One day, after an epic eposide of tears, I realised there was nothing else for it. She had to come with us.
But there was another problem. A big one.
When this whole sorry COVID disaster started, airlines stopped transporting pets to and from Australia. I had given up making enquiries at the end of 2020. We weren’t going anywhere, so there was little point.
Now, in May 2021, it seemed we might be able to fly, but would Molly?
I made a desperate call to the dog transporters.
“Please,” I begged. “Tell me an airline – any airline – has started flying dogs. I don’t care what it costs. I don’t care if it’s stressful for her. . .well, I do care, but it’s going to be more stressful for all of us to leave her behind.”
There was a glimmer of hope. Emirates might take her. But I would have to get clearance from the airline approved vet and sign a realm of waivers.
We took Molly to the vet the next day where they checked her heart, took blook tests and declared her fit and healthy to fly. I signed the waivers.
The black cloud that had recently loomed over our ‘Great Adventure’ started to lift.
If everything goes well, Molly will leave us in four weeks. She will board three separate planes in a large crate, spend 24 hours in airport kennels in between each flight, and be collected at Heathrow by my oldest and dearest friend in the UK. A dog lover, but a stranger to Molly.
We, in the meantime, will follow a day or so later, and be reunited with her after we’ve completed our 10 day quarantine in London.
That’s the plan.
I still don’t know what it’s all going to cost, and I don’t care.
I need to be able to look my dog in the eye and say “In what universe did I ever think it was OK to leave you behind?”
And I swear she’s perked up a little. Check out her ball action in the park. Not bad for an old dog!
We found out how much it’s going to cost. Dear God.
It’s now less than 3 days before Molly leaves us to start her epic international journey. My anxiety levels are at an all-time high.
She made it! Molly left us on Monday 19th July, driven away in the back of a van with ‘those eyes’ staring back at me (more tears). After three plane flights, two stop-overs, and a mild panic over her collection at Heathrow, she was finally collected by my wonderful friend Victoria in the UK on the evening of 23rd July and we were reunited with her a few days later (even more tears). She is safe, alive, and one very brave dog.