Nala Went Home

Nala went home yesterday.

She was picked up by a courier who would transport her to the neighboring city of Guongzhou, where her paperwork would be looked over and then in a couple of days she’ll be flying home to America.

Nala is a black poodle, and she has quite a journey ahead of her.

Nala is the dog we’ve been walking for the past three and a half months. Every day we would take her for a walk in the garden, me in the morning (sometimes accompanied by Noah) and Asena in the evening (sometimes accompanied by Noah). Koolyash did it when she had to, but she hated picking up the poo.

I’m more moved by Nala’s departure than I thought I would be. After all, it was often a burden leaving the comfort and safety of our apartment to go to the apartment where she was by herself, left by her family as they went to Oklahoma when the virus was just beginning, thinking they’d just be gone just a couple of weeks. That was back in January.

But as she came to know us, Nala’s greetings became more and more exuberant. She’d be waiting at the door for us and would bounce, literally bounce, licking our faces and wagging her tail so hard that you’d think it would wag off.

We’d put on her leash, and then take her out to do her daily absolution. We usually followed the same route, although we’d occasionally mix it up with a trip outside our apartment’s garden. These were her most exciting days, and she would stop every three meters to sniff the greetings of some other dog. Considering that she spent most of her time alone in the apartment, you can imagine how much she loved these moments.

And I grew to really love these walks. It got me out of our quarantined home, got me some vitamin D, got my blood pumping as she dragged me from scent mark to scent mark. On special days, Noah and I would walk her up to McDonalds where Noah would watch her while I went in to buy him a Happy Meal. We took her to get groomed. We took her to the vet when she had fleas.

It was a routine that became a break in the routine, and I will swear until the day that I die that it helped me to make it through the most difficult days, when we didn’t know where the virus lurked and if it would ambush us in the hallways when we left our apartment.

We haven’t had a pet in years, but for the last few months, we had Nala. And she grew to mean the world to us.

And now she’s going home.

So, while we are sad to see her go, we are overwhelmed with joy that she will be rejoining her family. It’ll be a long confusing trip for her, but she’s going home, and soon everything will be okay. We mourn that we won’t see her anymore, but we celebrate that she’ll soon be with her true family and be able to run and play in a yard in Oklahoma, with her four kids to keep her company.

And we’ll miss you, Nala. And although you will soon forget who we were, we will never forget you.

Bon voyage, sweet girl.

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