Thursday, December 19, 2013

Loving Candy, Bittersweet

This afternoon we introduced Candy to her new caretaker, the person she'll be living with come January!

On one hand, it was great to meet "Candy's New Human". She's a really sweet woman who seems to be genuinely excited to take Candy in. Candy will have a quiet new home with lots of love and care. One bedroom apartment, no other animals to compete with (Candy has never gotten along well with our other cat, Flash, who is much younger and larger, and tends to pick on her), a gentle person who will give her everything she needs - really, all that we could ask for.

Candy decided to participate in decorating
the christmas tree this year.
On the other hand, it's heartbreaking to come face to face with the tangible reality of giving Candy to someone else (although it feels more like we're leaving her behind). It was more abstract up to this point - the process of talking about what we would do with her, of searching for her new home, and of phone calls and texts as we worked out the details. But now, after having actually met the person and seen her hold Candy in her lap, it's very real.

We'll be transitioning Candy to her new home in the first days of January. That's stressful because it's only a few days before we leave our apartment, but it's relieving to have a couple more weeks to say goodbye, and to get to spend one more christmas with her.

We adopted Candy almost five years ago. She was already a senior kitty, probably eleven or twelve years old, no one was absolutely sure. She had lived with one of Shannon's childhood friends, in a house with many other cats, maybe thirteen fluffballs. Shannon's friend had asked for help because they had to move and unfortunately couldn't bring all of their kitties with them. We volunteered to help out and Shannon's friend suggested that Candy would be a good fit for us because she was so sweet and it was thought that she would get along well with Flash.

It turns out that Candy and Flash hate each other, but nevertheless we've come to love her and appreciate her quirky yet endearing personality.

When we started to figure out how to make this big move to Berlin, one of the very first things we had to talk about was, of course, the cats. We spent a lot of time researching what it takes to fly a kitty into Germany. We had to be certain that it would be safe, and luckily United Airlines allows you to bring a pet with you as carry-on baggage as long as you meet certain requirements (to be talked about in full in a future post!). So, we knew that bringing Flash with us would work. However, it was apparent that bringing Candy was not practical for her health and happiness. She's delicate and old, and not equipped for that kind of rigorous, extended travel. We know she'd be much happier staying here in a quiet home, even if it was with someone new.

It really did break our hearts, but sadly, it's for the best for everyone. It's best for us to move to Europe because it's something that we've always had in our hearts and is important for our life. But it's best for Candy to stay here. Not to mention it's going to be good for her, at the very least, to get some peace and quiet away from Flash the Tyrannical!

Despite it being the right thing to do for everyone involved, it still stings like hell and feels like we're abandoning someone we love. It feels like something we may regret, and it's hard to not feel guilty. Hopefully it works out for the best and we all benefit from these changes!

Days to Takeoff: 24

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