'She's a lovely dog and I'm sure you'll love her as much as we do,' said the woman to Mrs G. 'You see, there are three of them now plus our children, and we live in a small flat. We've decided to give Kheila away because she's the sweetest one and we think her chances of adapting to all the changes and finding a new home with the adoptive family are higher.'
'She's the oldest of our three dogs. Perhaps that's why she's got such a calm and loving character. Her brother is the youngest and is still up to a lot of mischief; her sister is blind, which would demand too much extra care from the new family. In fact, I don't think anyone would actually want to adopt a blind dog...'
'So, here you are, please treat her nicely, will you?' The woman's voice trembled with sadness as she handed Kheila over to Mrs G.
'Don't worry, she'll be well looked after. Oh, you're a real cutie, aren't you Kheila? Don't worry, she'll win everyone over in no time.' said Mrs G, reassuringly.
For the first couple of weeks not once did anyone hear Kheila bark or whine with grief. She ate just enough to keep her going through the day, but she was also getting weaker.
Kheila felt conflicted. She felt as though she should hate the new family, the new house, everything, but she couldn't. Why couldn't she? Why did they have to confuse her even more by being so kind to her?
One day Kheila had a very strange experience. In her sleep she was visited by a small black dog called Starlight.
'Hi, there, Kheila,' said Starlight, 'you needn't be afraid or feel so sad and depressed. These are good people and they seem to like you a lot.'
'Who are you?' asked Kheila a bit overwhelmed with the shimmering of the other dog's fur.
'I'm Starlight, this family's previous pet. Kheila, I had a long, wonderful life in this house. They always looked after my health and kept my fur shiny and sparkling and my belly full of yummy nutritious food. Trust me, you'll be fine. This family will do the same for you – Can't you tell you've already won them all over?'
'Yes, they have been very nice and I do enjoy not having to share all the treats and cuddles with anyone else...but I can't help feeling sorry for myself. Why didn't my former family want me anymore? I've been going over every minute of my life with them in my head and I can't remember anything I might have done so wrong that would make them want to get rid of me.'
'My dearest Kheila, it had nothing to do with you. It was just life that got in the way. It happens sometimes. You must agree that the other flat was getting a bit too crowded. You were the sweetest and the gentlest of the three pets, and you had no health problem – that's why they thought it would be easier for you to find a nice caring family.' Starlight added, feeling slightly emotional.
Kheila became silent again as if trying to absorb everything she'd just heard.
'And from now on, promise you'll start eating properly again. Embrace the change, your new life and this new family. You're a very lucky pooch. You'll have a wonderful life with your adoptive family, just like I did.' As soon as Starlight had uttered those words, she was gone.
Kheila opened her heavy eyes and rubbed them with her little front-right paw to make sure she wasn't still dreaming. Suddenly she felt a ray of happiness going through her body and for the first time in two weeks she went straight to her dish and happily chomped on her salmond-flavoured puppy chow. Mmmmmmmm! It tasted so good!
From that day onwards Kheila no longer felt abandoned or alone. The spirit of the former family pet was with her; she could feel it. What is more, she finally realised that she was loved, perhaps more than ever before.
'Come here little Kheila,' beckoned Mrs G. 'You look very happy today! How about jumping into your travel bag and coming for a drive? Would you like that?'
Like a bolt of lightning, Kheila jumped into her bag and gave a woof' of happiness. She had found her voice again.
- COPYRIGHT/Registado no IGAC
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