Last Post #29

Aftermath

It has been over three months since Cauta left us for the rehoming centre. We heard nearly two months ago that he had been adopted. We don’t know any details of his new home, but it felt time to write this, to say goodbye to Cauta and the writing of this blog.

His presence looms large, his absence a silent space in the house. I walk where we used to wander, but now with his erstwhile side kick Luna, and baby Torin. As I walk, every street holds a memory of him. A thought nudges me that he is still under the same sky. Somewhere.

We think and talk about him every day. Words tumble out as I write this, a well of emotion, the start of tears that have been walled away. Until now I didn’t realise how overwhelming the sadness is, not so much of his loss, but of remembering how we all tried, and all that we went through. The phrase rings in my ears, ‘just a dog’ but there is no ‘just’ about any animal. All beings deserve our respect.

I came across a quote in a Marc Bekoff’s writing, and this encapsulates what I am trying to say far more eloquently than I can write:

‘We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.’                                                                        Henry Beston, The Outermost House, 1928

When we take on a dog we take on this responsibility, to care for them in the best way we know how. Without patronising, without denigrating, idealising or minimising, but honouring their individualism. It would be easy to romanticise and be nostalgic of our time with Cauta, but this would be a mistake. I remember how it really was, all the battles, the trauma, and the hard won successes.

Ultimately it was asking too much of Cauta to adapt to the life we could offer. He made huge adaptations and so did we, but in the end it wasn’t enough. I hope now, wherever he is, whoever he is with, he has enough. Cauta deserves his space, his mountain in the sun, or snow. I hope he got it.

Coming to terms with what happened is a process, as is believing it is over. We also have to accept that we will probably never know how he is now, what kind of life he is living. It is a lesson in trusting others, trusting that he has been placed with who and what he needs, and that he is happy now.

And yes, it is a relief, a relief not to fear every moment outside, to have his needs so central to our minds and to constantly manage his and others safety. At least we can say we got him out of the terrible state and situation he was in, and we hope he has found his forever home now. We hope there is a happily ever after.

Reflecting on all we went through, I think we were striving to create a place of safety between us and within us, to give us all an opportunity to grow. We didn’t manage it with Cauta but I firmly hope that this is what we are building for our son Torin, for Luna and our foster dogs.

Since Cauta’s leaving we have fostered two dogs. After a break to recuperate I imagine there will be more. What we learnt from Cauta was very hard, but also earned us an insight and awareness that we would never have otherwise had. We hope other dogs can benefit from this, and that Luna can again have someone to play with to her heart’s content.

Thank you to all who are taking the time to read this, and have been supporting us throughout. And thanks always to Amicii Dog Rescue, particularly to Ann Pursey and Foder Dora.

We will never, ever forget you Cauta.

Signing off,

Rowena