A photo of Kush by Tiffany Barnard
Tiffany Barnard

KUSH THE WONDER DOG - IN MY EYES AT LEAST Is it possible to learn a lesson from a broken heart? Blog by Tiffany Barnard

25th of November 2021

My heart broke at around midday on Wednesday 21st July 2021.

But that is the end of the story.

Let me start from the beginning…

On the 15th of April 2016, my then 16-year-old daughter calls me up to apologise… She was apologising for the fact that her friends had given her an early birthday present, and she knew I wasn’t going to be overly impressed but that there was nothing she could do about it.

Now, I think that it is important to put this scenario into perspective… I had just had an operation on my back and had only come out of hospital 3 days prior and at the time of the phone call I was sitting in the terrace of a café with my parents.

Obviously, the conversation turned to a speculation of what exactly my little princess could have done now… We were going through the general list of things, most of which she had already done so it was fair to say that we were a bit stumped.

That was when we saw my daughter walking down the road with what looked like furry hand warmers…

She looked up, spotted us and the biggest, cheekiest smile spread across her face!

She approached our table and as she got closer, we all realised that the ‘present’ in question was in fact a puppy!

Now my daughter knows me very well and she knows that I am a big ‘ole sop for dogs in general and puppies in particular, so all she said to me was “Hold him Mum!”

You see, she knew that if she could get me to hold him, I would fall in love…and I did!

The thing is this was no ordinary pup. He was less than a month old and it was a friend of my daughters who had crossed a man, in the street, with 3 puppies. Obviously, she started cooing over the small furry beasts and the man told her that if she liked them, she should take them since he was on his way to have them all destroyed!!

Obviously, she took them, and my Kush was one of them.

He could barely walk when we adopted him and of course, we had no idea of what he was, or whether his parents were in good health.

Apparently, they weren’t because by the time Kush was 3 months old, he stopped walking, or rather couldn’t walk anymore.

After an x-ray we found out that he had severe double hip dysplasia but that with exercise and medication and the fact that he was so young, there was a good chance he would recover, and he did…at least we thought he did.

Now fast forward 4 years...

Kush is now my most loyal hound. He stays in his basket until I wake up, whatever time that may be, and waits for me to go upstairs before following me to bed.

If you can’t find me in the house, look for the closed door with a ginger mut in front of it and that’s where I’ll be.

He was always by my side, and I love him so much!

We had had issues with him in as much as he had nipped my son a couple of times when he was out playing football, but it wasn’t too serious so we glossed over it.

Until January this year…

I was playing with him, and he turned and attacked me. You could see in his eyes that he had turned into another dog! It lasted a few seconds until my daughter pulled him off me.

I was quite badly bitten on my hand and arm, but you know…it was probably something I did…or at least that’s what we told ourselves.

2 weeks later it was my husband’s turn, again when he was playing with Kush, and again we rationalised it.

By the time I got bitten for the second time, we decided to talk to the vet about what could be done, and he suggested a doggy psychologist and luckily we have an excellent one in Palma.

So off we went. Of course, Kush was fabulous during the whole visit! As he generally was. Docile, calm, and friendly.

A ream of blood tests later that all went to prove nothing, we had new x-rays taken and that’s when the vet was shocked! He said that if he didn’t know the dog, he would be sure that the dog was a cripple! That’s how bad his hips had got!! The hip joints were resting above his hips!!!

This was obviously why he was biting!! We had cracked it!

We started Kush on painkillers and launched a crowd fund to raise the €4.000 we needed for his double hip replacement, but for the moment everything went back to normal!

Then Kush started bullying our other dog Lola, a gentle, old Jack Russell. She ended up in the emergency room with a torn ear and again we made up some excuse to rationalise Kush’s behaviour.

Then he tried to have a go at a friend who was visiting, then my son who was stroking his head, then Lola got it again… and we were back in the car, with poor old Lola bleeding and yet still we made excuses.

And that was when I questioned whether we should stop making excuses and accept the fact that Kush, however much we loved him, was a dog that had physical and mental issues and as such he was unpredictable and dangerous.

The vets cautioned us that we had had several warnings… It was true. We had.

So, we took the unthinkable decision to put Kush to sleep.

And that’s why my heart broke at around midday on Wednesday 21st July 2021.

So, the question is, did I learn anything from this experience?

I didn’t think that I had until I spoke to one of my clients, and then it hit me.

We tend to spend our lives making excuses for the bad behaviour of those we love. Our children, our parents, our significant others, and our pets.

The fact that we love them so much, blinds us to who they really are.

The excuses we make for their behaviour are for our own benefit. It’s in this way that we try to bend the reality to fit with our image.

Our image being hugely biased of course!

The fact is that when we love someone, we cannot bear to hear anything bad said about them, hence the excuses.

We try and make people see the person through our eyes and hence love them as much as we do.

The truth of the matter is that, unfortunately, sometimes the bad behaviour needs to be seen for what it is and called out.

So, the lesson I learnt from this sad episode in my life is that, when everyone around you is telling you the same thing, maybe, just maybe they have a point.

R.I.P. Kush ❤️


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Tiffany is an Professional Certified Coach (PCC) which was awarded by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), the leading global organisation dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high standards. Tiffany trained at the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Tiffany is also an Energy Leadership™ Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) and a COR.E Transitions Dynamics™ Specialist (CTDS).

Tiffany Barnard's Professional Certified Coach (PCC) badge awarded by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Tiffany Barnards's Certified Professional Coach (CPC) badge awarded by the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) Tiffany Barnards's Energy Leadership™ Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) badge awarded by the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) Tiffany Barnards's COR.E Transitions Dynamics Specialist (CTDS) badge awarded by the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) Tiffany Barnard's International Coaching Federation (ICF) membership badge