My Furry Friend and I – Mr. Mango
This is a story about the time I met my true love, a furry friend. He was quiet, a little malnourished and not at all what I had in mind when it came to owning a dog.
In June 2010, my then boyfriend took me to seek out a furry companion, because I was longing to share my life with someone other than him.
First love – eventually
So, we drove over to the RSPCA on a Sunday morning. We were full of uncertainty but had high hopes of adopting a Rottweiler.
To my delight, it was love at first sight for me because he was such a cute cross breed puppy. Plus he had the protective eyes that someday could ward off thieves.
As I was getting close to adopting the furry companion of my dreams, the volunteer pointed out that he was not ideal for me because I lived in an apartment.
He would grow into a medium sized dog, which authorities wouldn’t allow to live in an apartment.
The volunteer said that I would have to choose from the small dog section of the yard.
I was utterly shattered and heartbroken, but I half-heartedly walked through to the area where many yapping small breeds sounded quite desperate for a good home.
I remember clearly seeing this little furry but bony Jack Russell Maltese who immediately stood on his two back legs against the gate.
A quiet but confident furry friend
He looked happy to see me although he could probably sense I wasn’t nearly as excited. His selling point was he wasn’t yappy or noisy, rather relaxed and reserved. A bit like me on a good day.
Not that he wasn’t cute, but as you can imagine my heart was set on the other puppy. So I felt I needed more time to process my mixed feelings.
His name at the shelter was Rodger which made him a bit less appealing to me. I remember thinking to myself “you would need a much better name, buddy”
Telling my then boyfriend Simon I would need a minute to think things through, I went to have a smoke. There was another person eyeing this puppy as well, admiring his white coat and the orange markings in his pointy ears.
However, I could see that the little fella was more eager to meet me and my competitive “I saw him first” instinct was setting in.
I finished my cigarette and sat thinking at the front reception for a while. As I was about to leave, a box full of newborn kittens was brought in.
I picked up one and as I was getting attached to it, the volunteer came in and took them away. They weren’t vaccinated or up for adoption yet, I was told.
The whole experience at this stage felt very disappointing, but I went back to see that malnourished white furry pup one last time.
Simon even said that we could come back again the following weekend if I hadn’t felt for any of the smaller breeds that I was only allowed to choose.
That’s when my rational and pragmatic mind kicked in. I remembered that I was here to adopt a companion to save. We hadn’t come all this way to go home without one.
He chose me
So, I told the volunteer I’d like to adopt that puppy at the end of the carriage gate that kept looking at me. Afterwards I believed he had “chosen me”.
As soon as the back gates were opened, he came running to me like we were long lost pals. It was at that moment that true love was ignited between a girl and her best friend.
Still recovering from the two disappointments, I held him and knew right away he had the love I needed to heal.
10 years later, I know that adopting my late dog Mr. Mango was the best decision I ever made, and we had the greatest journey together.
Coming home in the car he was very timid and a little scared of my fiery personality. (I was probably having an animated debate with Simon about something).
Nevertheless, in the first few days of learning his ways and making him feel at home, he would go to sleep listening to Ava Maria orchestra.
As his new mom I knew that he needed a safe warm environment. I just hoped that my colourful personality wouldn’t overwhelm him.
Loved by everyone
We had many flatmates who, while renting with us, would shower him with affection. Our friends would volunteer to pet sit him or find reasons to suggest I go on a short holiday.
Whenever I met familiar people on the street they would ask, “How’s Mango?” and I would reply, “Yes I’m doing fine too, thanks for asking. Mango is home taking a well-earned nap on my bed as I go pay the house rent for him,”
Everywhere I went it was me and Mango. My friends would call me “Mango’s mum”. Even at the airport, the sign held up by my friend read “Mango’s mum”.
He made me a far better person in my young adult life. I was an international student struggling through the usual ups and downs of life as a young adult. With him around, waking up in strangers’ beds was a thing of the past that only took place in my twenties.
Now in my thirties with Mango, I had a responsibility to make sure I was home for him and where my heart was, there I was. He was in my heart and still is in my memory.
Lockdown without Mango
Three years have passed, lockdowns have come and gone. Thankfully I made the hard decision to have him put down before the global pandemic turned everything upside down.
I would have hated to have dragged him around while moving back to Sydney from Melbourne at the start of the crisis.
My fur baby was so ill with arthritis that he was unable to feel from his waist down. More than that I chose to suffer the loss of him, than have him suffer the pain of being immobile.
Vets were saying that he was in the early stages of the condition, and that it wouldn’t get any better even with operations. So the process of long recovery plus the pain and discomfort for my baby would be something to consider.
As I held him and soothed him, I felt dumb speaking to him one last time on 19th July 2019, just a day before my birthday.
Standing at the vet’s table holding him as she put him to sleep, something in me died with him. I went into a complete meltdown as the doctor held my hands.
She was very patient and knew the pain I was feeling.
Exiting the doctor’s office by myself, everyone was quiet at the reception.
Not everyone was so understanding
A young man in his mid 20’s, however, had no sympathy for the fact that I had just had to have my dog put down.
He looked at me with eyes full of hate and disgust, clearly furious with me. As if it was my fault that he felt uncomfortable listening to my meltdown. I figured that it was his level of emotional immaturity and it had nothing to do with me.
From that day on no matter what challenges or disastrous life events took place, nothing could shake me.
The day Mango was put to rest, I was also at the end of my final big breakthrough into adulthood where a big change was to take place.
For me to finally embrace adulthood, I had to let go of my dearest best friend.
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