I tried not to get attached to Mum's dog over this last month, but she wore me down with her unflagging ecstatic unconditional enthusiasm and love. It was revolting and irresistible in equal measures and I found it a daunting challenge to my miserablist sensibilities. After Mum was housed, the dog and I quickly settled into a routine.
This weekend was my first opportunity to go down South again and begin the process of preparing the flat for sale. I knew that I should contact the Groomer and ask if she was still happy to take the dog off my hands, but something in me resisted. I wasn't sure if maybe I was dreading hearing that she had decided against it. Or maybe I was reluctant to give the dog up: I found myself calling Sachi to sit with me on the couch and absentmindedly petting her for hours. I wondered if maybe, as an adoptee, I was incapable of letting go this relationship with a being that loved and depended on me no matter what - basically a child. I knew I had to do this, though. The breed shouldn't be left alone for more than 3 hours, which was inconsistent with my normal working arrangements and a logistical exercise going out at all. Setting my house alarm meant I had to confine her to an upstairs room, where her yowling was heartbreaking. The only practical way forward was to telephone. Resolving not to think about it any more, I telephoned.
The Groomer said that she still wanted Sachi. So now I was committed to going down South this weekend. Still, Friday afternoon came and went. I transitioned from my work PC to my home Mac and soon it was late and I was too tired to drive. Stalling?
I set off at midday Saturday and arrived about 5pm. The Groomer rang en-route and was there within minutes of my arrival. Sachi was ecstatic to see her but then flopped on the sofa as we talked over the practicalities. As far as she was concerned, this was a normal grooming run, and she trotted out of the door with her new owner without a look back.
I got a lot done on Sunday, hauling huge sacks of junk mail and clutter out to the bins and taking photos of the furniture to circulate to family or possibly to advertise on eBay.
The odd thing is that, ever since Saturday evening, I keep halting with a sudden start and realising that I'm on my own. It comes on like a little shock. I realise that absolutely every step I've taken for the last month, day and night, has been with Mum or her dog in mind. I get a little shock when I think about going out and realise that I can (that I don't need to think about what to do with the dog). I get a shock when I realise that I can open a door at normal speed and not have to be cautious any more just in case the dog is lying on the other side. I get a shock when I suddenly remember that I haven't checked Sachi's food dish or water today, and then realise I don't have to any more. This is silly - why didn't I feel this when I'd dropped Mum off in Cheshire? It's ludicrous that I have this reaction over her dog, isn't it?
Perhaps these are the shocks I would have had after Mum's departure if I'd been alone then. That little dog was like a sticking-plaster over that particular wound.