by: Alisha Broemeling
Some insight into our decision:
How old would B be before she could understand boundaries? 18 months? 2 years? Older?
What would J’s life look like if he was kept separated from B (read: his family) until she was old enough to understand? Sad and lonely.
Could we change J’s behavior with training? Possibly.
Could we live with ourselves if something else, god forbid, something worse, happened to B while we are figuring out the answers to these questions? No.
It’s the last question that really sealed the deal for us. All of our options that resulted in us all staying together as a family involved a calculated risk, and the person who would be at risk was B. My husband and I could not live with ourselves if we took a risk and lost. So we made our decision and began to take steps to find a new home for J.
I know it’s trite, but your whole perspective does shift when you have a baby. I am a little ashamed to admit that I used to think most people who re-homed or owner surrendered their beloved pets probably took the easy road. That these well-meaning pet parents had somehow failed in their duties. But the truth of the matter is that we all adopt pets with the intention of making them a part of our family, to have them share in our joy, to greet us when we come home and to provide us with the kind of unconditional love you can only receive from a pet.
Our family moves a lot. It’s part of my husband’s job. We’ve always gone out of our way to make a plan to move us and our furry family members (which is harder than it might sound: picture cute couple + two schnauzers packed in a VW Beetle for 3000 miles).
Once we made the difficult decision to place J in a new home there was the task of actually finding a new home for him. We put the word out to our friends. We are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by a group of people who love us and dogs.
After a couple of days we were put in touch with a lovely woman, S, from Maine, who is a friend of a friend’s mom. A perfect candidate for a new home, she loves dogs and has no small children.
I found the process of corresponding with S a little strange. Not her, just the situation. It was like I was trying to sell this awesome thing that I have, but can’t keep. Except it’s J, a member of my family, not a thing.
After emailing back and forth for a couple of weeks, S set up a meeting. We would meet at a half way point determined to be Lancaster, NH. As always, my husband was on duty so I packed up the car and drove B, J and I the two and a half hours to Lancaster.
We arrived, late like always, and met S, a perfectly nice teacher, who immediately fell in love with J. J went home with S that day for a trial. We have since been in contact and J seems to be settling in nicely at his new home. He is infatuated with her cat, gets a long with her aging dog and enjoys sniffing around the woods. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.
Back at home our other dog, C, has had some separation anxiety which we were expecting and are working through. My heart is sad for the loss that our family sustained, but that feeling is peppered with relief that he and B are safe and the happiness that J is loved.