I moved to France and left my Labradoodle, Bentley, behind.
“How could you do that?” I’ve been asked by friends and others, especially by animal lovers who believe in taking pets abroad.
How could I do that? I keep saying to myself. Bentley is the best friend I’ve ever had — or perhaps the “best” since my golden retriever, Morgan, went over the “rainbow bridge.”
I mean, it’s easy to take a dog to France. In fact, France loves dogs. All you need to do to take a dog into the country is have a current vaccination record. Or so I’ve been told.
That’s a piece of cake. “Bentley, you’re moving to France!”
Not so fast.
How is Bentley getting to France?
The only route I could imagine for transporting my 70-pound Labradoodle from South Carolina to France was by commercial airplane — along with me. In the baggage compartment. Under the airplane. Down where it’s very noisy and very scary.
The noise and darkness may not be a big deal for some animals, “give him a tranquilizer,” you say.
That might work, but let me tell you a little something about Bentley. Bentley is scared to death of loud noises. He leaps into the bed with you during the night if there’s a thunderstorm. He stands on your head.
He leaves the room if someone sneezes.
He’s been known to have seizures if he gets too upset.
In other words, transporting Bentley underneath an airplane would be a death sentence.
So, what’s the alternative? Stay home because of a dog? Throw away the dream of living in France because you don’t want to leave your dog? All these thoughts certainly ran through my head. They still do. I miss Bentley everyday. I can’t look at another dog and not feel guilty about leaving Bentley behind.
Bentley and I have had long conversations about this dilemma.
You see, Bentley lives with my son’s family now. He moved in with them when I left for France. He shares the family with their Goldendoodle Maddy. He helps guard my three-year-old grandson and one-year old granddaughter/. I get to visit with him for months at a time when I return to the States. When we’re back together, it’s like nothing’s changed. We take walks. He sits on my lap when we’re watching TV. He jumps on my bed when there’s a thunderstorm.
However, when I pull out my bags to start packing to go away, he knows. I know.
We kiss and hug and whisper “goodbye” when I leave the house to take a flight back to France. I get on that noisy airplane and I think of Bentley as we’re taking off down the runway.
He’s with me. We’re together. Always. In our hearts.
The good news is Bentley is happy with his new home because he has an important job. He and Maddy the Goldendoodle take turns watching over my grandchildren and the family.
If you live or travel abroad and have a story about your pet, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to add a comment to the post or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org