Thursday, September 27, 2012

My first baby

I thought about this the entire day and I just didn't know how to put it in words. Tonight, I lay in bed weeping until my hair is wet from my tears and thought I have to write this eulogy.

I used to have a Shetland Sheepdog named Alice.
I say "used to" because I rehomed her. This post wouldn't be completely understood without you reading these:
1) Why I had to rehome her.
2) Her rehoming story: who she was rehomed to.

Years before kids entered my life, Alice was my first baby and the centre of my universe. My world simply revolved around her. My days started and ended with walks with her, and weekends meant trips to petshops and dog runs.

On the afternoon where she leaned on my bump and I made a promise to her.

When I was pregnant with Adam, I remembered hugging her one afternoon and promising her that things will never change. However, from the moment Adam was born, everything for Alice has changed. Her pecking order was demoted, I sometimes forgot to fill her bowl, walks became far less often and she peed on the floor from being unable to control her bladder. Weekends were then spent bringing the human baby out. She was clearly neglected, but she had never blamed me. She greeted me every time I came home with the same enthusiasm as before.

One fateful day, Adam went to see the doctor for a chesty cough that wouldn't go away. The doctor diagnosed it as bronchitis and suggested that we give Alice away. You see, Alice had severe skin problems that required medical attention often. For a large part of her life, she needed steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs to control her skin problems, which would never be cured. She shedded a lot of fur and dandruff, and Adam, who just started being mobile, was going to ingest all of those.
Left with no choice, I rehomed Alice to my ex, Alan, whom I adopted Alice with.
The promise I made to Alice that afternoon became my biggest lie to her.

Yesterday , I received a text from Alan. He said Alice has been admitted to hospital for vomiting and was later diagnosed as having pancreatitis.
We were prepared for the worst, she was 11.
The inevitable topic of euthanesia came up and Alan & I both agreed we wouldn't play God, and that his family would take care of her if needed.
I discussed with Andy and he said I could bring her home to nurse her if I wanted, but later my gfs Charmaine & Meena knocked sense into me and said I simply didn't have the capacity to take care of a newborn, a toddler, and a sick dog. My girls were right. I thank them for their honesty.
The next thing I know, Alan informed me this morning that Alice has passed away in the hospital .

Alice always had a sweet temperament. I believe perhaps she chose to leave on her own and spare us the painful prospect of having to put her to sleep or watch her suffer.
It was too sudden and I didn't get to say Goodbye. I begged Alan to send me her last photo but he refused, and reasoned that he has to respect her even in death and he did not want to take a photo of her in that way. I respected his decision.
He then sent me some photos of her in the past year that he adopted her.
Here, she has clearly put on weight and her fur grew so thick.
So different from that day she had to go to her new home.

Suntanning was her favourite past-time and she got to do it daily in the backyard.
She was definitely living the life at Alan's place

I am thankful that Alan let me "be with him" every step of the way in Alice's last journey since I was not physically there with her.
He Whatsapped me photo after photo of Alice when she was alive, and he updated me what he was doing - he mentioned about saying Goodbye to Alice on my behalf, about asking me to pray that she would go to Heaven, about making payment to the hospital, about filling in a blue form with choices on what to do with the body - he ticked on the box which says to have her ashes back.
An hour later, he told me he was still there with Alice's lifeless body because he couldn't bear to leave her. He said she just looked like she was sleeping.
After that, another Whatsapp came in, he told me they had brought her to the cold room.

I know it must have been harder for Alan than it was hard enough for me.

We have made arrangements with the hospital for her to be cremated and have her ashes collected.
We do not know what we are going to do with her ashes yet but she hated water and baths so we would likely not sprinkle them into the sea.
Good bye my baby girl, and thank you for not letting us having to make the painful decision for you. You are my first baby and will always live in my memory.
12 July 2001 - 26 Sept 2012.


  1. Take Care Veron... Very often, we have to make painful decisions in our life and your posting brought tears to my eyes. I am sure Alice is at the other side of the rainbow bridge now having fun...

    1. Thanks Christy,
      Even though ppl might not agree with my decision to rehome her (someone even removed me from her friends list on FB) but this is my journey and I cannot change it to please everyone.

      I still miss Alice and think of her every now and then and believe it or not, I remember exactly the way her musky paws smelled, and how her fur felt to the touch.

      She is greatly missed.


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