Anyone who has ever had to give up a pet for any reason will be able to empathize with me on what I must do. I have to re-home my youngest fur-baby. For her sake, for Callie’s & Shadow’s sakes, and for my own sake. And it’s tearing me apart. Despite her demonic attitude, I love this little girl. She stole a piece of my heart the first time I saw her and worked with her. She was so good with me as we worked in the courtyard outside the Adoptions area. She was about 5 months old, cute-as-a-button, smart, and bonded to me almost immediately. I was "in love" with her, even though I wasn’t ready to admit it. As most of you know, Sam & I adopted Ducky the very afternoon she was placed on our county animal shelter’s "urgent" list, 4 weeks ago today. She had stolen a piece of my heart several weeks earlier.
Ducky had "some issues" (the shelter’s wording, not mine) that caused them to move her out of the adoptions area back to the rescue area shortly after her first adopters returned her to them. After hearing five different stories from as many people, I decided that what she needed was a loving home with people who understood her. After an unsuccessful fostering weekend of our own, I wasn’t ready to be that person right away. But when she showed up on that urgent list, Sam & I knew we couldn’t let her be a victim of someone’s deadly mistake. Somehow, some way, we would find a way to make her a happy puppy.
Fast forward to this past weekend. Sam was away at his sister’s lake house, and I had to deal with all 3 dogs by myself. For these past four weeks, Ducky has been pushing my patience way beyond its limits on more occasions than I can count. She nips, growls, and snarls at both of her older sisters when they try to play with her. Or, when Callie tries to teach her how to be a good doggie, as only another dog can do, Ducky nips at her lips, ears, and ankles. People, my brother included, say "she’ll calm down eventually". Maybe she will, maybe she won’t. But she won’t here. This weekend, despite my best efforts, my frustration boiled over. And when last night Ducky snarled and snapped at Shadow for trying to get some loving from me, I blew my top. I just yelled at full voice "that’s it! I’ve had it with you! Tomorrow you’re going back to the g-d shelter!" Sam immediately said "no you’re not" calmly. I had had to deal with this little "Demon Dog" and her terrorizing of her two sweet, loving older sisters all weekend and I was fed up. Callie and Shadow were super-patient with Ducky all weekend long. They sensed my frustration with her and did their best to help me. And what did they get out of it? Lots of love from me during Ducky’s naps and after her bedtime; but nipped lips, ears, and ankles from the little "brat" dog. They slept near me most of the night, and I tried to show them how much I love them. But I’m not sure they’ll believe me until Ducky is no longer living here.
I didn’t sleep worth crap last night. I love Ducky and I want to see her happy; but I know she’s not happy living here with us. Sam & I pretty much decided last night to re-home our little one. But I still felt like I was giving up on her, not giving her enough time to "settle down". And the guilt brought on tears, and the tears brought on self-doubts that brought on more guilt that brought on more tears. You get the picture. By 6:15 this morning when my arthritis woke me up, I felt like I’d been hit, run-over, and backed-up-over by a Mac truck. And my eyes were still burning from the tears. To top it off, Sam & I had quarreled over some stupid football game and went to bed pissed-off at each other. Just a bad night all around.
I called Sam at work Monday morning to apologize. And as we talked about Ducky, the tears started building up again. Then I had the smartest idea I’d had since Friday morning. "I think I’ll call Dr. Steve and see if he can talk to me today, give me some advice." Dr. Steve is our vet, and in my humble opinion, one of the best veterinarians I’ve ever trusted wit any of my dogs. I love this man! He truly cares about his patients, and takes the time to know the "pet parents" as well. One of the vet assistants gave me his last appointment prior to the day’s surgery, and asked me to bring Ducky along so Doc could observe her while we talked…
We talked about Ducky for over a half hour. He would have talked more if I needed him to. But, the 35 or 40 minutes we sat there talking –and watching Ducky — was time well spent. I left the room with Ducky knowing that I had nothing to feel guilty about, and with my self esteem in tact once more. The only thing that was still hurting then, and continues to now, is my heart. I want only to do what’s best for all three of my furry kids. But what IS best for them is tearing me apart.
Were all the tears and frustration of these last four weeks worthwhile? You bet! Would I do it all over again? You bet! I potentially saved the life of a sweet, yet anxiety-ridden, puppy. Had I left her at the shelter that day, she might have been taken by one of the rescue groups; but the chances were better that she would have been euthanized as an owner surrender. At least I bought her some time, gave her as much love as I could, and can work on getting her re-homed with somebody who can give her more love, attention, and time and get her the training that she needs. She needs to be an only dog, and that’s not going to happen here with us. And I need to be fair to Callie & Shadow, which means finding their "little sister" a new home. At least this way, I can make sure Ducky gets what she needs to be happy.