Our dreamer, Jacquelyn, was diagnosed with metastatic cancer in January, when she was living with her family in Manila. When they received the news that morning, they were quickly booked on a plane that same night back to Australia for treatment.
Her two 5-year-olds, Ophelia and Finbar, were picked up from school in the afternoon and told they were flying to Australia. There was no preparation, no goodbyes to their friends, their school or their home. Mummy was sick and they were going back to Australia for treatment. Their lives were completely uprooted, and their entire sense of home was lost. Our dreamer has so eloquently explained her story, and the journey to bring back normalcy through their dog, Taka:
“Four months on, we are still living out of a suitcase and staying with relatives so I can get assistance with the kids and with transport (I am not driving). Ophelia and Finbar miss all that is familiar to them; their friends, their old toys and Taka.
Cancer has not just entered our lives it has destroyed it. We find ourselves with no home, none of our familiar things, we are separated as a family.
Since January my single aim, apart from dealing with cancer, has been to find a home and create a place of stability and security for my family. Taka, our dog, is a part of this. He completes our family. He is part of what my children understand Home to be. He is what they miss and his joyful, loving, unquestioning presence in our home is a big part of making us feel whole again.
I realised that my dream was somewhat unconventional; dogs are not to everyone’s tastes and their importance in family life is not always fully appreciated. In fact, many a person voiced the opinion that to go to so much trouble and expense for a dog was crazy. But, Bringing Taka home was part of a much larger dream to create a home in Australia, a place of stability and security for my family; and he was an essential element in achieving that.
Since a puppy, Taka has been a constant companion. Never far away, sitting under my desk whilst I worked, at the foot of my bed whilst I slept. When I spent days in bed, sick from the intracranial pressure of a brain tumour, he never left my side. He is my furry child, our first born before the children came along. It was in fact having Taka in our lives that led us towards parenthood. When our children came home he simply accepted them as part of his pack. He has travelled with us throughout our nomadic life, from Oman, to Dubai, to Australia, back to Dubai, to Ras Al Khaimah and then to the Philippines.
Unbeknown to us, you cannot relocate a pet from the Philippines to Australia directly. They have to spend 2 to 6 months in an approved country beforehand, in addition to quarantine in Australia. This makes the process long and expensive. Having reluctantly considered all the options – giving him away, putting him down – I realised I could do neither and whilst I didn’t know how I would do it, I knew I needed to bring him home.
Dreams2Live4 contributed a substantial amount towards the cost of bringing Taka home. Their willingness to support my dream quelled the creeping doubts and the voices of the critics, and greatly increased my confidence that it would, indeed could, happen. Simply put, they believed in me and my dream. Friends and family from around the world donated funds and the US company Pet Relocation not only guided us through the lengthy and laborious process, but also achieved the impossible of crossing bureaucratic boundaries on both sides of the Atlantic and achieving in one day what normally takes weeks.
Our beloved dog Taka returned to us on the 14th December 2016. An early Christmas present to a family that missed him terribly. He travelled from the Philippines via the USA on a journey that took 8 months! When he arrived in Australia he was bewildered yet beside himself with excitement at the sight of us. He had had no idea where or why we had gone nor if he would ever see us again. It has taken him some time to adjust to his new surroundings, a new home, and distressingly he still crys whenever we need to leave him behind.
But Taka is home, and for a family that has undergone an exceedingly traumatic 18 months, his ability to make life in Australia feel like home, has been much desired. Taka completes our family. He is part of what my children understand home to be and his joyful, loving, unquestioning presence in our home is a big part of making us feel whole again.
Thank you Louise and your dream making foundation.”
– Our Dreamer
We are so thankful that Australia can now become a home again for this wonderful family. Taka’s presence and return to his family will have a lasting impact on our dreamer for the rest of her life. We are so glad that she can be comfortable again, in a time that is too often overwhelmed by insecurity and fears! Welcome home to Taka, and this inspiring family.