Through a dog’s eyes
Hello. My name is Hallie and I am an immigrant. Not by choice, you understand. No-one even asked me if I wanted to move halfway across the world. I suppose that’s because I’m a dog, and dogs don’t really answer questions.
Just over a year ago, I was living a very comfortable life, though of course I didn’t appreciate it then. In hindsight, I was quite content with the ways things were. I was settled in a house I had lived in for 12 years — even if there was a cat there who seemed to hang around a lot — and I was looking forward to pending retirement, when I planned lazy days spent by the fire, with the occasional stroll to the park, and meals, snacks and beverages provided for me on a regular basis. This retirement was going to be a blissfully simple but satisfying existence, so much easier than the preceding years, when I had spent my days lazing by the fire, going for the occasional stroll to the park, and … wait … never mind.
No retirement for me
But there was to be no peaceful, simple retirement for me. My humans had other ideas. As I approached the twilight of my life, at the tender age of 84 (12 in non-dog years), my humans decided to uproot my life and move. Not just around the corner, though. Not even to the next town. Oh no, they don’t do things the easy way, this lot; they move across an ocean.
I was born in Canada; apparently one of my parents is from Labrador and one from Germany, though from what I’ve heard, I think my paternity could be in question. Maybe this is the root of my “sad face”; something I am reminded of often when I overhear humans say things like “I have never seen a dog look so depressed.”
But I wasn’t depressed, I was happy. I had good friends, ageing old fellows like me, though in the last few years I didn’t see them so often, and eventually I stopped seeing them at all. First Finnegan, then Clancy, and recently Gus — I don’t know what happened to them but I heard the sad whispers of the humans and I didn’t like it.
Nasty flying thing
And then one day I was bundled into a metal cage, the door was locked behind me, and I was forced to endure the longest day of my life in a giant, deafeningly loud, terrifying flying machine. I am pretty sure the cat was in on it. She even managed to find her way into a cage beside me, mocking me with her narrow, piercing eyes.
When I finally got off that nasty flying thing everything was different. The air smelled different. The people were different. And they all sounded like my Best Friend, Juliet.
Once I was reunited with my humans, I felt a bit more settled, but it was confusing. We went to a live in a kennel, which I soon realized was actually a house. A very small house. With something they called a garden. New people came into my life; some of them I remembered from when they had visited my house in Canada, and some were new, but spoke to me like they knew me. I decided to bark at everyone just to be sure.
My retirement is not the one I had imagined. I live with my Best Friend, but the rest of my humans come and go. I don’t know where they go, or why they are not all together. I miss them. My Best Friend tries her best; she takes me to the beach sometimes, because she knows it was once my favourite place. But I don’t like English beaches; the stones are too hard, and the sea is scary and loud.
I am hoping to meet a friend soon, maybe another immigrant who understands the challenges of starting a new life in a new country. As long as it’s not a cat.