As parents we provide our children with pets for many different reasons, it teaches them to care for another living creature, develops a sense of responsibility and provides companionship. In our family we’ve had a few attempts at pets – the Christmas present hermit crabs which on unveiling promptly bit the child, leaving her completely disinterested in them – which was lucky because they escaped on Boxing Day never to be seen again. Then there were the goldfish – we went through more of them than I care to remember. But the pets that stuck around were the dogs.
Abbey and Chandler were a product of a divorce. When my husband’s work colleague split up neither he nor is ex-wife could have the dogs in their rentals, so suckers that we were, we agreed to take them both so they could stay together. They were three years old when the arrived, about the same age as Princess Child.
The children really don’t have a memory of life without the dogs. As far as they can recall Chandler has always been good naturedly bumbling around while Abbey pranced through the house in her usual diva style. Throughout the years the dogs and children have grown up together. There were hours of playtime in the backyard – although Abbey was smart enough to wait for the girls to be distracted to make a quick escape, she had an uncanny ability to completely hide herself in any environment.
Abbey had standards – she refused to walk on wet grass and looked at you in horror every time you took her outside to go to the toilet when the ground was damp. Dominant in her relationship with Chandler, Abbey was quick to let him know when he had displeased her – nipping his neck and sitting on him to get him to move out of the comfy positions in the sun because that was HER spot.
Abbey loved car rides. There were quite a few long journeys on the Brisbane/Port Macquarie run over the years and Abbey was always keen to get on the move. One trip that particularly sticks in the memory involved Abbey throwing up in the back seat, and one of the car wheels almost coming loose. Mr Shambles did a great job that day of noticing the noise of bolts loosening on tyres over the sounds of a dog spewing and children screaming.
Loyal and friendly to those she loved Abbey never failed to get up to say hello when Nana Shambles or Aunt Dorothy arrived to visit. However, she detested crowds and would do an evil stare if party guests stayed longer than she deemed necessary.
As parents you get your children pets to teach them about caring for another living creature, and when they pass away it is a lesson in grieving that surprises you all with it’s level of sadness. To Hippie Child who was the first home on the day we lost Abbey, I’m proud of how you handled the situation and, that even in the middle of your distress, you were thinking of your sister when you stopped her at the front door so she wouldn’t see. To Princess Child I’m proud of the concern and care you’ve shown for Chandler, who is lost without his sister.