Recently my sister in law’s dog -Stanley- had to move out. My sister in law had a baby, and Stanley appeared to become jealous, which of course is not unusual. However, he was also fiercely protective of the new baby very quickly. And a number of other factors meant it just wasn’t working out and it all became too much and too difficult for my sister in law (and having experienced Stanley’s over excitement and ‘funny 5 minutes’ I can understand why).
In our family we have a veterinary nurse who was able to re-home Stanley, but there was the option of my sister in law’s in-laws also taking Stanley on. They’d always been fond of him and had dog-sat on various occasions, so he knew them, their house and their other dogs well. So Stanley went to live with them.
I had to explain this to Mini a week or two ago because he was asking when he could go and visit Stanley again. After I’d finished, Mini suddenly exclaimed "well that’s just like me!". Slightly confused, I asked him to tell me what he meant. "Well, now Stanley is with foster carers like I was because his mummy and daddy couldn’t look after him anymore". Realisation dawns that he has actually got a very good understanding of his background. And I agreed that yes, it was a little bit like him and his life. "He should be happy there then mummy". Then the sentence that caught me by surprise:
"But you won’t let him be adopted will you because then I’ll never get to see him again – promise me mummy."
Luckily because Stanley is with extended family, I was able to promise that we’d still find out about how he was settling, and we could ask Auntie and Uncle to get photos too. That seemed to be enough for him…for now. I asked him if he had any more questions about Stanley and he didn’t, but he did want some more coco pops…definitely the end of the conversation!
I felt really sad and really proud of Mini all at the same time. I wonder if he really feels that adoption has prevented him from having contact with his birth family? Or has meant he'll never see 'someone' again? But I know now he’s got a pretty good understanding for his age, and I know that when he’s ready, he can talk to me about it. My clever boy.