So yesterday I got a new tattoo…which my family don’t know about. I haven’t told my mum yet because I can’t be arsed with the agg and she won’t approve of another tattoo but I’m hoping she’ll approve of the design. So to mum and other family members, if one day you read this I’m sorry but it’s my body and I’ll do/get what I god damn want.
As some of you may know I leave for Australia on the 3rd August (6 weeks and 6 days to go!) and the only part I’m not looking forward to is the goodbye I’ll have to say to my best friend and companion Barney.
The idea of a dog has always been a topic of conversation in our household. It was mainly my dad that brought it up but mum and my brother weren’t as keen as me and my dad were. Shortly after my dad died we decided to get a Border Terrier. The house didn’t feel the same after my dads death. You could feel the pain and hurt in the atmosphere when you walked into our home. We all needed someone to cheer us up, keep us busy and someone to love. I remember the first day me and my mum went to the kennel. They had a litter of Border Terrier puppies, I think there were two girls who had been reserved and four boys which only one had been reserved. One of the staff members came and opened the door to the kennel and they all came running over but there was this one puppy that got my attention. I instantly fell in love with his eyes. They were so beautiful and innocent. So I said to the lady and my mum that he was the one. So he got a little x marked on his belly and we waited till he was 8 weeks old and he came home with us. During the wait time me and mum came up with name ideas for him. We both made lists but in the end we decided that Barney would suit him best. I remember holding him on my lap during the car journey home. The feeling I had is the feeling I imagine mothers to have towards their new born baby. A few weeks after I got quite ill. I was filled with headaches, cold sweats, rising temperatures and stomach cramps that made me want to rip my insides out of my body. It pained me even more because all I could do was lie on the couch and watch Barney. I could barely move because of the pain I was in therefore I couldn’t play with him, hold him or even pet him. I ended up going to the hospital where my GP looked me over and told us it was a virus that had failed to be contained in Manchester hospital, and with the death of my dad being a few months prior, my overall health was poor which was why I was a easy target for it. For the next few weeks I managed to get better and I was able to spend more time with Barney. I hated leaving him alone. I just wanted to be with him always. I spent 90% of my day with him. He distracted me from all the pain of my dads death and made me feel human.
We got Barney during my school summer holidays, so when it came to September I needed to start back at school again. I found it very scary. I didn’t want to be treated any different from my friends but I knew I was still unstable in my mind. The only thing that got me through my days was knowing I’d walk into my home and I’d be greeted by a gorgeous puppy I could call my own. Some days were harder than others. Some days were better than others but Barney always helped me feel comfort at the end of them. He didn’t care about what I was rambling on about. He was just always happy to listen. He didn’t care about why I was crying. He just wanted me to smile and be happy. At the time that’s all I wanted and needed. I didn’t want to be thrown into counselling without my consent. I didn’t want to talk to any human about my dads death. I just wanted to talk to someone and not be asked questions, not be given sympathy and I never ever wanted anyone to feel sorry for me. Barney didn’t care about all that. He was always there to lick my face, wash away the tears, make me laugh, make me smile and make me feel human.
Fast forward to a these past couple of years when I had my major mental break down. At this point I was actually speaking to people about my issues, but just because I was speaking to them doesn’t mean I was letting everything out. I hate crying in front of people. Always have done and I always will do. So even opening up to people like my mum or counsellor I didn’t always cry. I’d be talking about subjects that have caused me pain, but I wouldn’t always express it emotionally. Sometimes it felt like I couldn’t. Even though I knew I had this build up of emotion, I had to really force the tears out sometimes. At this point Barney was sleeping in my room almost every night. He would be fast asleep opposite and I would have woken up in the middle of the night. Due to my PTSD, it was hard for me to sleep through a whole night. I’d normally wake up because of the nightmares. Whenever I did wake up, I could turn over and see Barney lay there peacefully. It reminded me that I wasn’t reliving the past and he provided me with comfort. Some nights I would just lie there, watching him sleep, stroking his ears thinking about my troubles and all these tears would fall from my face. When I was around him I could 100% be myself. I didn’t have to put on a fake smile or pretend that I was okay. I didn’t have to force the tears out. Nothing was difficult around him. Life was somewhat easier and more understandable.
Barney has been my best friend and companion for 10 years now. Honestly I can’t really put into words how much he means to me and as I have no plans to return to the UK, I am dreading my last day with him. I know after I leave my mum will need him the most and I know Barney will need her too. It pains me to be taking this next step in my life without him, but I cannot thank him enough for everything he has done for me. I might not have even made it this far if he wasn’t in my life. Therefore I cannot thank my mum enough for agreeing to buy him and my tattooist for doing an amazing job. I’m so happy that the tattoo captures Barneys eyes. The eyes that I first fell in love with and the eyes that I will forever love with all my heart.
A dog truly is a mans best friend.
Sending my love to you and your companions,