A New Home

It is said that the first night in a new home is often the most traumatic one that a young puppy will ever know. This was not the case for Gibson and Fender, named after guitars and new additions to a newly rented cottage in Avoca Beach.

My daughter left home for good three weeks ago. She and her partner were almost ready to find a pet dog, when they happened upon an ad for these fourteen-week-old brothers. When they saw the state these two were in, flea-ridden and under nourished on a cement patio, they decided to rescue them, take them both to the RSPCA. As often happens with dogs, once they had been bathed, fed and treated for flea-rash, the bonding process was well underway, and Kate and Andrei decided to keep them both. The puppies now have a large grassed area in which to play, regular food, walks along the beach and lots of affection. They are thriving, and are even learning not to soil inside.

I have a theory now, that dogs, especially young ones, send out “attachment pheromones” to potential owners, giving rise to an instant and all-engulfing urge for possession on the part of the unsuspecting humans.

Kate’s main worry with moving out of home was leaving Zac, our dog that we have had for ten years. She worried that he would fret for her, since she had showered affection on him and taken him to the Dog Pools near our home every day. She made me promise to try to fill her shoes and to make sure that he did not suffer as a result of her moving out. Has he fretted for her? It is difficult to tell with dogs, because they tend to change allegiance within a family quickly if need be. He tends to sleep if we do not take him out in the day time, despite our having a large backyard and garden. Still, I have kept my promise and take him out at least once a day for walks and swims.

Kate was generous in giving me time to adjust to her leaving home. Unlike myself and my siblings—we were all sixteen or seventeen when we moved out of home in the sixties—she is twenty-seven. The umbilical chord attaching us had plenty of time to stretch and finally give way.

She cried when I left her standing on the verandah of their new home on the Central Coast after I helped them move in. I cried during the two-hour drive back to Sydney. Our tears, I suspect, held a mixture of emotions, sadness, nostalgia, and even joy that we had managed to come this far without too many ‘breakages’. And that we had managed to separate so well, so lovingly.

The good thing is that Kate is not too homesick, and I am not suffering from the “empty nest syndrome” that many parents experience after their last child moves out. We know that, soon, there will be more grandchildren to shower affection on, and we will now be able to set about renovating the granny’s flat downstairs.

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