Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The time for a Big Decision has arrived. I put up a free ad for my dog on Petfinder.org, and someone actually responded, and she sounds like a really good match for my dog. Which means it's time to put up or shut up. When I got the email yesterday my heart unexpectedly sunk. How can I give up this close bond I have with my dog? The unconditional love I get? How can I let her down and break her heart, when she's been through so much in her life already? She helps me feel less alone, and it's very hard for me to ever turn away love of any kind. But a couple of things have happened in the past week that have made me pretty sure that my dog would do better elsewhere:

At Hugo's one night, my dog was (as she always has to be whenever I leave the house) locked inside of my car. And apparently she was barking so incessantly that a woman in a nearby building called the police, who loudly summoned me from the bar in front of a bunch of people I know. I had to walk out to my car and face the irate and exhausted woman who had called the cops. I was very apologetic. Luckily the policeman himself was very understanding, so all I had to do was move my car. But it was a definite low point.

This Sunday I didn't leave the house except to walk the dog. True, I amused myself by downloading a ton of my CDs onto my hard drive and then my ipod, making a couple of mixes along the way. But I didn't even have the option of, say, walking into town to grab a bite, or driving to Trader Joe's, or riding my bike to Pete's for ice cream.


I just had lunch with a couple of sympathetic co-workers, both dog-owners (one has a shelter dog), and they made me feel better about the whole thing. They agreed that if I was bringing her into a good situation, then it was the right thing to do in order to regain my freedom. There are two other people at work who are making me feel extremely guilty about giving her up... They don't know that I've started seriously looking for a new owner, but when I brought up the idea a few months ago they were both adamant that I keep her. One said that her anxiety will get worse with the new person, so to spare both the dog and the new person, I really just needed to keep on with the training (which I've been doing for years without success). The other said that she wouldn't be able to stand not seeing my dog at work every day. So why don't YOU adopt her, I was thinking, but I've asked her in the past and she can't or won't. Neither of these people, by the way, are ever willing to dog-sit for me.

So am I horrible? How horrible am I? The new person is arranging to meet with me this Saturday. I don't know if they will take her right away if things go well, or if they're going to wait a week (I'm going on vacation next week). And then I will be weepy and sad for a while. But then I will start to remember that I can once again ride my bike and walk everywhere I need to go in town, and I can do anything and go anywhere at any time of day, and I hope I'll realize I made a good choice.


Anonymous said...

Not a horrible person at all. It sounds like a tough choice - but it also sounds like the right choice. Good luck!

av said...

You're doing the right thing. If you wanted an infant you would have one. Your dog deserves the love and attention someone who has the time and energy for a thing that is needy every moment of every day has. I hope the person you met or will meet is that person, but wait til it feels right to you. I know you are doing the right thing! I have never heard of a dog being as difficult as Louise! That sux about the cops! And yeah, someone who says keep the training up needs to also be the kind of person who has raised and trained the same breed to have any validity! So there. And if he/she doesn't have a dog, then he/she has absolutely NO idea what they are talking about and you can go ahead and write them off completely. i mean their comment, not them. You are recognizing your limits and respecting yourself! So it's really good what you are doing for yourself. And when you have your newfound freedom, enjoy it. It's OK! You'll feel guilty here and there, but ultimately you were meant to enjoy your life, and it's not like you agreed to take on a child, you know? That would be different. OK, done now.

Anonymous said...

Bark! Bark! ... Bark, bark, bark! ... Bark! Bark! ...

(Translation: Oh why do they leave?
Oh why do they leave ...
On the day that you needed them the most?

Simple cards and things
Rose colored sunsets
No flowers from me

Simple cards and things
Rose colored sunsets
Curtains for me ...)

-- Louise (With apologies to Ryan Adams)

Anonymous said...

I think finding a good home for Louise should make you feel the opposite of guilt. Anti-guilt. You're making a difficult decision in her best interests.

You'll feel much better if you can keep in touch with her new owner and check in periodically. We gave our cats away to people we know, and it helped immeasurably to hear reports on the cats' newfound glee at being away from each other, and our dog.

So there!

Alice (aka Finslippy)