The last of our 2020 puppies headed off to his forever home in Dunedin over the weekend, and as we were loading Jason and all his stuff into the car with his very excited new family, they asked, "Are you upset to say goodbye?"
We thought on this for a moment and then realised the answer was "NO".
By rights, you'd think we should be. After all, these are puppies that we have helped into this world. We worked hard before they were born to ensure they would be as healthy and happy as we could arrange. They were tube-fed when needed and watched over 24/7 to keep them warm and safe. They sleep in their welping box with their mothers beside Tracey in her bedroom so we always have eyes on them. We coddled and cared for their mothers all through their pregnancies and whelping, with special food, belly rubs, cuddles and hand-feeding if that's what they wanted, and the best medical attention a money can buy.
We have watched them grow from slugs to pups, watched their personalities reveal themselves, played with them, laughed at their playtime and sibling squabbles, learned their quirks, bathed them, cut their nails, crate trained them and taught them as much as we could in the 12 weeks we normally have with them, about the big bad world out there and how to navigate it safely.
But when they leave us, we've discovered we are not sad, we're excited for them. These pups are going to such wonderful homes, with families who will love them and care for them as well as we do. We love this breed and think everyone should get to experience what a fabulous little dog Chihauhuas are and how much happiness they can bring into people's lives. And because we have so carefully selected their forever homes we know it's right - for the puppy, for the family and for us.
That is something to celebrate, not be sad about.
Only once in 5 years have we ever shed a tear, and that's not because it wasn't a wonderful, safe and loving home. It was because we wondered, even then, if we were being told what we wanted to hear. a suspicion that sadly, over time, proved to be exaclty as we feared. The lesson we learned from that, as it is for so many things in life, was to trust our instincts, and since then, that matnra has served us and our babies, very well indeed.