This week's post (Monday) was about how to survive Life's rigors as an expat. Sometimes Life throws a few hard curves in a short period of time. And that post was not just fluff to fill my blog, but it's also a letter to myself.
Loss of OtaThere's alot going on for Jiri and I right now--some good and some bad, which is normal for all of us--I mean each and every person on this earth. Amongst all of these things we're dealing with, this week I/we have lost two pets--Ota on Tuesday, and Pal, my long-time dog companion. Ota was a little guy--a gerbil, who made us laugh and we loved very much. He was just little and didn't want to come to our hands too often. Though Ota did come into my hand to sit and eat after his brother died a year ago. Ota came to my hand for the feel of another and for some love. When we got Baby, Ota stopped coming to my hand, and let Baby take care of him . Even so, Ota was a cute little guy and perfect when I couldn't have a dog. Believe it or not, even little guys can be companions and company for people. Ota was very much a little companion along the way.
Loss of my Dog PalPal was a big guy at 100 lbs, he was a golden retriever/ chow chow mix. We lovingly called him Monster because he was such a handful, but a very loving one. I got Pal for my kids, and he was a great part of our little family in that time. Being newly divorced and with two kids, you'd think the last thing I needed was a big dog. But Pal was not only our friend, he was the male of the house who protected us and was always there for us. Pal had a mind of his own, and was quite a character, and he thought he was literally the head of the house. Pal became my every day companion, through thick and thin. He also helped pick out my husband, Jiri. Pal had met a couple other guys I was dating and he hated them, but loved Jiri. You know what they say about dogs and kids--they always know when someone's good. So you go with what they show you...Pal was right about Jiri, and here I am now, in the Czech Republic.
When I moved to the Czech Republic my parents took Pal for me. This was one of the hardest parts of leaving home for me...leaving Pal. How do you tell a beloved companion you have to leave them for a husband across the ocean? There is no way--and I don't know if Pal understood or not that I didn't want to leave him. There was no way for Pal to come with me. The vet had told me Pal was too old to move so far away. He had some health troubles in those days, and the trip would have probably killed him. So my parents--who are excellent people and just as excellent parents--took Pal for me. They've been loving and taking care of him since I moved here just over 4 years ago. Pal loved them so much, and their dog, Jade. Pal was very happy with Mom and Dad--which made it easier for me to leave him. But leaving Pal was one of the hardest things for me to do.
My Mom called this morning to let me know Pal had to be put to sleep on Wednesday. Pal developed kidney trouble very suddenly. But he was 16, about 112 years old for a human. He lived a very long life, and he was greatly loved by us all. This morning my heart is literally crushed with this news. Pal was more than a family pet for my kids and parents and I...and for me he was exactly what his name was--Pal--a friend and companion on the way. I'm very fortunate to have had Pal in my life. I'm sorely missing him as I write.
I want to tell my Mom and Dad thank you for all the wonderful and loving care they took of Pal. They stepped in when they didn't have to. Taking Pal was a big job as he was big and had some health issues already. I know it was a horrible decision for them to have Pal put to sleep--not only was it hard for them on my own account, but on theirs, too. They loved Pal like he was their own. And I am so grateful to them for all their care of Pal and the kids and I. Thank you, Mom and Dad, you'll never know how it made me feel when you said you would take Monster for me. It was very hard to leave him, knowing you would probably have to stand in my place when it was time for Pal to leave. I'm so sorry for that--I would have gladly kept you from having to go through this. Thank you for being there when I couldn't be.
So, my post on Monday was to myself, but I thought it might be away to help others who find themselves as expats away from their homes, families and beloved pets. Though when I wrote on Monday I didn't know I'd be losing two pets this week. The expat life can be a wonderful adventure, but it can also be very difficult when things are going on back home.
Have a great day.
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