There’s no other way to say this: Yesterday, I felt completely wretched. Not a little bit discombobulated, or run-of the mill unhappy or mildly depressed, but truly wretched, in the most conspicuous-wailing, red-eyed-and-sodden-faced kind of way.
You see, yesterday, I got rid of one of my children. By which I mean, Sherman, who has been part of the family for a month, went back to the animal shelter. The way I felt, he might as well have been my child, for in the last four weeks, I had truly fallen in love with that patchy-faced, four-legged, utterly-loveable rogue.
We made the decision at lunchtime on Wednesday. Tiggy had become increasingly withdrawn and unhappy as Sherman became more jealous and snipey with her. It was hard to give Tiggy a pat without Sherman living up to his name by bulldozing her out of the way. It became clear that he needed a home where he could have all the love – whereas we could only give him half.
When we decided our two-dog dream wasn’t going to work out this time, I sat on a bench, under a small, swaying tree, not far from my office and cried. I’ve never been particularly self-conscious about public displays of emotion, so I heaved and sobbed for a while, deemed myself psychologically unfit to return to the workplace and went home.
I cuddled Shermie when I got home and cried into his soft fur, as he nuzzled me with his gigantic face. He pranced around, and snapped at Tiggy, and fell off the couch (he is the most tremendous klutz) and chomped on us lovingly and tried to steal bites of our dinner.
One thing’s for sure: there is never a dull moment with Shermie around. He may be the jealous type where other pooches are concerned, but he lives for a laugh. He is a true card. If you want a dog who moonlights as a court jester – and gives the world’s most snuggly cuddles, and who snores as sweetly as the sweetest little piglet, then Shermie is your man.
The next day came too soon. Matty had to go to work, so Tutti drove Shermie and me to Sutherland Shire Council Animal Shelter, where it was time to say goodbye. I haven’t cried so much in a while. It was overwhelming and painful and horribly sad and as I stroked Shermie’s beautiful spotty ears one last time, I wouldn’t have been at all surprised had my heart had just fallen out of my chest and thudded onto the ground in front of me.
To Shermie’s credit, he didn’t make a fuss. He trotted off with one of the wonderful shelter staff, trying to snuffle in the dirt as he did so. Tutti and I stood there, watching him get smaller and smaller, our faces red and puffy and soaked with tears. Shermie trotted out of sight.
Goodbye Shermie, I whispered. I love you. I hope you find your family soon.
(We laughed through the tears when we got in the car though. Shermie had left us a small memento, and shredded the back seatbelt with his devilish teeth.)
NB. I have to give a special thank you to the incredible staff at Sutherland Shire Council Animal Shelter. They are the most beautiful, caring, intelligent, wonderful women. I’m not sure there are enough kind words to truly do them justice. If you want to adopt my beloved Shermie (best suited to a one-dog family) – or any dog or cat for that matter – don’t hesitate to pay them a visit. They’re absolute angels.