It was a heartbreaking decision to have to leave our two dachshunds behind when we moved to Indonesia 18 months ago. The truth is that they would have hated it here. The heat and humidity, the nowhere to go for nice walks, the traffic and noise, the lack of green spaces to gallop in….not least all the new pathogens and parasites that their little bodies would have had to got used too. Believe me when I tell you how much time I spent in the couple of months before we moved out here, getting in touch with animal and livestock transport specialists, sizing up crates, filling in various forms, working out vaccines and meds, seeing how long they would have to be in quarantine before they could leave the airport in Jakarta. My heart sank to my toes when I realised what sheer hell that they would both have to go through just to satisfy our happiness and spare our grief our at having to part with them.
After a tearful discussion we finally made the decision to find them a new home instead. I put word out on the grapevine that there were two 1yr old smooth haired miniature dachshunds that needed re- homing in the next four weeks. I wasn’t interested in asking any money for them, but what I did want was to find as ideal a new home as possible and to make sure that wherever they ended up they would be loved and cared for permanently.
Great friends helped by spreading the word on Facebook and others by putting adverts up in their local vets surgery. Within a couple of days the phone started ringing with folk interested in giving a home to the dogs. First up was a gentleman from Ireland with a very plummy, uppercrust voice. Unfortunately Lord What’s his Name rang me in the evening when I was out enjoying a pint of cider with the Irishman in our noisy local pub. Unfortunately, when I answered the phone, I’d had a little too much cider so that when he started telling me that he lived in a castle, I thought he was taking the piss . I had to pretend that my fit of hysterical laughter was that of some rowdy drunk in the pub and suggested that he emailed me all his details and telephone me back the next day if he was still interested.
When we got home later that evening, sure enough there was an email from Lord What’s his Name with a link to his castles website. I nearly died. ‘Holy F’ing shit’ I said handing Irishman the laptop with all the moving images of the castle and it’s magnificent grounds, rooms stuffed full of antiques and valuable paintings, exquisite landscaped rose gardens with gravelled paths and fountains. ‘Why the bloody hell don’t we live somewhere like that?’ Fritz and Otto are going to live in a nicer house than us…that is SO not fair!’
Lord What’s his Name duly telephoned me the next evening and said that he would be coming to London the following week, and so please could I hold off showing the dogs to anyone else until he’d come and seen the dachshunds and could make a decision. Being that he was the first person to call, and, let’s not kid myself about this, lived in a vast castle with pots of money, it would have been very churlish to have denied our 2 dogs the chance of such a splendid new home, complete with heaps of expensive persian rugs to chew and pee on, miles of corridors to sneakily poop in, and tons of priceless antique furniture whose legs and arms they could enjoy defacing and knawing.
Now the thing is that when you know that you have a Lord and Lady What’s their Name coming round to your house, AND you’ve seen pictorial evidence of the sort of gaff that they live in, it does tend to make you feel just a wee bit insecure about your own home, especially when it’s a tiny 2 up 2 down in a not particularly lovely part of London filled to the rafters, not with antiques and ancesrtral portraits, but instead with junk and crap.
The day of the castle dwellers visit dawned and as luck would have it, it also happened to be the day that the kitchen ceiling which had been threatening to collapse for weeks due to the leaking pipes from the bathroom upstairs, finally did so. For months there had been a large and hideous stained ‘breast like’ bulge in the ceiling, over the kitchen table but lack of funds and other more pressing things had meant that we hadn’t quite got round to getting it fixed. And so it was then that when Lord and Lady What’s their Name and their blue blooded toddler, Little Lord Tarquin Fauntleroy arrived on that Saturday afternoon, there was a sea of dust and plaster everywhere, and both the dachshunds had gone from being a shiny black and tan and ginger to a sort of dull and matt uniform grey colour.
Lord and Lady What’s their Name, gingerly made their way through our tiny entrance hall and into the rubble strewn and cramped ‘Drawing Room’ gathering dust and filth on their expensive shoes and outfits as they went. Irishman and I tried as best we could to make them comfortable in our humble abode offering them the choice of the dusty, dog haired, sofa to sit on or the computer chair with the broken back. They politely refused both, plus the offer of tea or the use of the bathroom facilities which was a blessing really, as you could see right up through the kitchen rafters to the toilet directly above.
On their introduction to Fritz and Otto, Lord and Lady What’s it’s Names made all the right plummy noises about how ‘daahling’ and ‘sweet’ and ‘adorable’ the dogs were, and on requesting to see their pedigrees, how very ‘WELL BRED’. All was going absolutely splendidly until that is, their very own daahling toddler Tarquin, decided to make a beeline for Otto and stick his chubby fingers, and sharp fingernails straight into Otto’s eyes, and try to strangle him. Otto, having never encountered this sort of malice before, quite rightly snapped fiercely at the infant, and in such a way that made it very clear that if young Tarquin should unwisely repeat this manouevre, or move another inch closer, then some serious blood would be drawn and the young infant may well risk losing an eye, a digit, or at very best, be facially scarred for life. For purposes of damage limitation, I immediatley whisked Otto up onto my lap whilst he continued growling furiously and curling his top lip to show of his fabulously sharp canines to the assembled company . From that instant, it became very clear that Otto had clearly blotted his copybook and that neither Fritz nor Otto would be going anytime soon to live in a castle in the South of Ireland. I have to say that minutes later when they made their excuses and quickly left, we were both greatly relieved on many counts.
We did find a new home for the dachshunds. The nicest, loveliest home that we could ever have wished for them. They now enjoy a huge garden, a houseful of company and are just minutes from their old home, so they know the terrain well and where all the smelliest and best lamp posts and street corners are to cock their little legs on. They are loved to bits, spoilt rotten, and extremely happy. They’ve ended up in a most wonderful place and despite us still missing them, we both know that we ultimately made the right choice for them.
For anyone reading this who is thinking about bringing your dog with you abroad, especially if you currently live in the north western hemisphere and are moving to a destination such as Indonesia, I would say this; However much you love them and how ever much you will miss them, I don’t believe that the stress that you will inevitably put your dogs through with longhaul travel, quarantine, rabies injections etc is kind to them and I believe that they will in the longterm thank you for putting their needs over yours, especially since bacon rinds in Jakarta are rarer to find than hens teeth.