“Those who teach us the most about humanity, aren’t always human.
― Donald L. Hicks”

To the dog that captured my heart,

Although there were over 400 dogs here, I always kept my eyes on you.

Maybe it’s because you were the first dog to greet me when I first arrived. Or, maybe it’s because you followed me around everywhere.

From meeting the elephants, feeding them and bathing them, you were there. When I had to clean up the whole park, you gave me your support.

Even when I left the sanctuary to harvest plants in the local fields or visit the school nearby, you waited for me. You always stayed on my porch, guarding my room at night, waking me up in the morning and just sitting with me during my breaks.

Everyone knew we had a bond. Other volunteers and the workers teased me as I constantly searched for you.

Yet, wherever I went, you were not so far behind. You always came even when I didn’t call you.

It is why I knew you loved me just as much as I loved you.

I never expected to feel so at home in a place that was so far from it. You played a huge part in that.

You are one of the reasons why I never wanted to leave. Why I felt so disappointed when I was told that I couldn’t take you home. That you had a great life at the sanctuary.

I left despite the fact that I knew you deserved a real family. A family where you would get infinite care for the rest of your life. One where temporary attention would be nonexistent. I wanted to give you that.

I felt so restless and out of place when I came home knowing that a piece of my heart would always be left in Thailand and that you had it.

It is the reason why I decided to sponsor you. I still wanted to help you in any way that I could. I still wanted you to be a part of my life. And I wanted to be a part of yours.

The updates that were sent to me made my day. Catching up and seeing you again always made me smile.

I never anticipated that one day, an update would do the opposite. That one would even make me upset. But one did.

I will never forget the post that broke my heart. The one that revealed how you got adopted and that you were going to Texas.

I was happy for you. I knew all along that you deserved a forever home. What hurt me was the fact that it wasn’t me who would provide that for you.

I was envious. That someone else had also fallen in love with you. That I had lost you.

I felt regret. That there was something wrong with me. That I had been deemed inadequate to care for you.

But it wasn’t me. Eventually I had discovered that your adopter was a dear friend of the sanctuary’s founder. That he had better means to adopt you. That he is perfect for you because he is a good man.

He is a philanthropist. His company sells coffee that gives back to all the animals at the sanctuary as well as the Thai locals who you were undoubtedly familiar with.

He ensured me that you were in good hands. From pictures of your first bath, your first dog bed and your very own collar (a pink collar in fact). He showed me that you had a new dog sibling and many friends in Texas. That if I ever wanted to visit you, I would be welcome with open arms.

I appreciated those kind gestures but I knew that if I ever saw you again, it would be different.

Reasonably, it’s been hard to let you go but if anything, writing this has been therapeutic. I’ve turned this ‘ordeal’ into a lesson. A lesson that taught me how sometimes, even if you do all that you can, things may not always go your way and maybe it’s for the best. That maybe it was never meant to be.

You made me appreciate the impermanence of life. You made me realize that my attachment to living things is real but that sometimes, that condition is not meant to stay. That animals too, will come and go and despite this, they will still play a huge part in my life.

If anything, you reinforced my devotion to all living things along with my belief that all dogs deserve a loving home.

So, Alan. Thank you.

Thank you for capturing my heart. For the smiles, the laughs and the tears. For making my time in Thailand more memorable and my life more valuable.

Thank you for keeping an eye on me.

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