They are leaving me behind; Paw-Pa and Paw-Ma (Ken and Kathie) will travel to Ireland, without me, in just a few days’ time. They did not invite me; they did not ask in any kind of formal way, “would you like to come?” The message from the beginning was that I was not wanted on the voyage; there was no room for a Labradoodle in Ireland. Possibly there was concern that I might pollute the Irish Setter or Irish Wolf Hound gene pool — well that ship has sailed, long ago. I could act as an interpreter, for barking is an effective canine lingua franca. Ken is quite worried about how he will understand Irish accents, furiously rendered. Well, I could help with that! Just saying.
I must ask, “when have I been a travel burden?” We have journeyed well together in recent months, happily and congenially, for hours and even days, sometimes in challenging circumstances. I eat little and I shed no hair; I take up very little space, and I will bark, vociferously, when I sense danger. I am the ultimate protector. I am an amiable traveler, being interested in any number of activities and occupations – beaches, parks, hills, fields, and dog parks. I find joy in all things; I sometimes lead my humans into delightful situations that they sometimes miss. It’s not fair that I must remain behind, on my own, this time. I am sad beyond words. My heart grieves.
Such sadness comes close to the despair felt by a singer who is forced to abandon his love and depart for a foreign country. His grief relates to leaving, whereas mine is fixed on remaining. The emotion however is identical.
Innsbruck, I must leave you;
I will go my way
to foreign land(s).
My joy has been taken away from me . . .
I must now bear great sorrow
that I can only share
with my dearest lover.
You get the idea. This entire situation sucks. I am pleased to say however, that careful accommodation has been arranged for me once the adults fly away. I love my times with Cameron, who takes me to great locations; he also teaches me how to drop the ball, and gives me generous cuddles. My Golder Retriever friend, Daisy will come and stay with me overnight; we will also chase balls and run in the early morning fields, carefully avoiding ticks, snakes and hungry bears (which are a-plenty this year). Finally, I will visit Reggie, a canine flea with no off switch. We seem never to rest. All this marvellous planning does soften the abandonment blow, but still, why me, here, and not there?
Now the experience of being “left behind” is not unique to me alone. Consider the late Duke of Edinburgh who walked two paces behind the queen for their entire married life together. His very place was behind. Think of the Left Behind book series which posits a frightful fundamentalist apocalyptic theology. (Not recommended for consumption) As I watch the news with Ken and Kathie, I feel sorry for characters like Boris Johnson and Jason Kenny who both have resigned their positions, though will not leave them for fear of being, wait for it, left behind.
So . . . I will wait by the door for most of three weeks. I am a good waiter and will be so very grateful when Ken and Kathie return. I hope they will remember me when they return; I think they will. I hope I will remember them also.