Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The curve ball..

The hardest thing about leaving the USA and moving to Australia, was leaving our dog and cat behind.  We could have brought them, but it would have been a lot of money including the airfare, special handling en route, 5 months of vet tests in the US before 30 days in quarantine in Oz, not to mention the stress on the animals.  Since we've been here, we've had a lot of uncertainty about where we were going to live, if we were going to stay, should we move to a larger house, should we get back on the road, etc.  Throughout it all, the kids (AJ especially) have often asked if we could get a dog - or a cat or a rat or a snake etc, but mostly a dog. 

We really miss a lot of aspects about living on the road.  For me, it was the simplicity of the life, the adventure and living in nature and just being outdoors and active a whole lot more.  With the cooler weather here (well, it is the middle of winter, but we are in the subtropics...days are mid 60's - mid 70's, nights are mid 40's - mid 50's), it's still a bit chilly for us.  We have been talking about getting on the road next February when our lease expires.  It was something we were all very excited about.  Our aim was to slowly head north for the winter and take some time to see if we might find another area we would prefer to live. 

Four days ago, we planned to walk up to the beach but got delayed a couple of times before we could leave.  We walked up the next block and suddenly a little puppy walked onto our path.  We stopped and patted her and then watched as she walked onto the road.  Oh no!  We had to find her home and return her, but she did not have a tag on.  We knocked on a bunch of doors nearby but nobody knew her.  I kept hearing a voice saying "there are no coincidences".  We brought her back to our house for a drink of water and to make a temporary leash.  Then we took her to the local vet to see if she had a microchip.  She did not, but the vet took her in case the owner called anyway.  The puppy was such a sweetheart.  Obviously young, but not hyper.  She was very relaxed in our arms when we had carried her and she just seemed to fit in with the family.  The kids were sad to give her in to the vet, even though we had only had her for about an hour.

We continued to talk about going camping and all of the things we would be doing when we were back on the road.  But we also talked about how sweet the little dog was and how she had fit in with us so easily and what it would be like to have a dog....but could we get back on the road?  Could we do both?  We would be limited in our choices of where we could camp...would it work?  Would it be possible to balance our need for freedom and adventure with the responsibility of owning a dog?   No, we decided, it would be too restricting.  Ok, so 'there are no coincidences'...what did that mean?...was the dog there at the same time we were as a gift for us, or to challenge us to explore what was the most important things to us?  There was a definite feeling of synchronicity.  Would we be denying our family a whole lot of joy and fun and the once-in-a-lifetime experience of the children sharing their childhood with a much loved companion animal?   How often does the right kind of dog just walk across your path?

You can see the curve ball coming can't you?....

So the day after, the owner of the dog called us to thank us for finding her.  And then she said that she is actually trying to place the dog, as she took the dog for a patient of hers who has gone into the hospital for an extended period and cannot care for her.  Were we interested?!   Oh dear.  Cary initially said thanks, but no.  We all felt really sad about that though.    It's a big commitment to take on an animal, especially a puppy.  We didn't want to ever be in the position to have to give an animal up again.   Our heads kept going back and forward over the debate so our hearts stepped up to make the call.   And as soon as Cary called them back to say "yes!", it was though something clicked into place that made our family feel more complete.   I don't know what the future will bring us from here, but I do know that sometimes, you just have to take a leap of faith and see how well you fly. 

Having our little girl - a 16 week old Jack Russell weighing 6lbs / 2.5kg, named Gypsy - will bring a new adventure into our lives and enhance the childhood of three very happy children.  She is already encouraging us to get outside more and just be more playful and active.  Things I thought I needed to get back on the road to experience.  Hmm...where will this lead us?  I don't know, but I have a feeling, it will be all good!


Miranda said...

Sweet! Sounds like you got what you wished for, just in a different form than you thought it had to be. A little dog like that could go on the road, no problem, too! She is adorable.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Miranda. She could definitely go on the road if that's the route you take. Congratulations on your new member of the family! Enjoy! And remember..Jack Russel= lots of energy!!! Good thing she's got lots of children to play with!

Melissa East said...

Oh, Annette, my girls ask me daily for a dog but I keep telling them that I'm not a 'dog person' and likely never will be. Jack Russell's are smart. My neighbor takes his to train and compete in racing. I'm so happy for you all and for Gypsy, that she has all of you to love her up!

~Tara said...

Congrats on the new family member! We found our last dog the same way. She (and the puppy she was pregnant with *ahem*) were such awesome dogs. She's passed away now and he's with Justin's mom. I wish we could take him on the road but he sheds so much; I just couldn't handle it in a small space. We all miss him though. :(

Annette said...

Thanks!! We are absolutley loving Gypsy! She would be great on the road, the only thing is that there are only about 10% of Australian campgrounds that allow pets. Which could limit us a little, or we could discover places we might not have gone to otherwise.