Dogs with Issues, fostering, Gala, training, Yin and Yang

All This Good-Bye Saying is Wearing on a Soul

20953348_10154856620492405_641604796664883125_nThe house feels so very quiet and calm despite the fact that all three kids are still here and we have a border collie puppy in residence. Without Gala, the energy is different. I dreamed about her last night waking at 3am with an uneasy feeling. I lay there imagining what she’s thinking, worrying about her tender heart, and sending up silent prayers that she would blossom in her new setting.


As has been the case for me of late, sleep did not return. I tossed and turned and debated getting up and cleaning something instead of wasting so much time growing more impatient at my inability to get back to sleep. And then I became absolutely sure I could hear the puppy crying downstairs.

I got up and crept through the dark, silent house and peeked in on Yang. She was lying alert in her crate, listening to me approach. She gave me a tentative tail wag, wondering what the heck I was doing up. “Good girl,” I told her and went back to bed to continue worrying over Gala until the sun finally came up and I went for my solo run.

For the last two weeks Gala’s move has been in the works. One thing or another has delayed it again and again, but finally yesterday she moved to Shannon’s house about an hour north of us. Shannon and her fiancé are young and active and have two big, friendly, well-trained dogs. They have a fenced yard and are experienced in using ecollars for training. They used an ecollar to successfully train another difficult-to-adopt-out OPH dog, helping her find her forever family after many months in foster care. My great hope is that they can take Gala the next step, too.


After over four months, Nick and I have come to the conclusion that we can’t take Gala any further in her training. She has come so far and we’re proud of that success. She needs to learn not to be afraid and reactive to other dogs. We can’t teach her that here since our personal dog, Gracie is afraid and reactive to other dogs. The two have been combustible since day one and even crated side by side and seeing each other every day their animosity has never stilled.

Gala also needs to learn to respect a fence and come when she is called. With no fence and the siren call of the horses here, it’s been impossible to work on either of those skills. The ecollar has helped immensely but I still fumble with it and have never felt confident in my ability to use it if a serious situation arose – like a dog fight or a loose Gala heading for the pasture.

In a quieter house, I’m hopeful that Gala will settle even more. She is an extremely sensitive and smart dog and our crowded, busy household with its stream of teenage guests and new dogs made her anxious and excitable. I think in a calm setting with a regular schedule and two well-behaved dogs to set the tone, Gala will thrive; her confidence will grow and her ability to trust with it.

Gala loved Shannon on sight and happily jumped in her car, always ready for an adventure. Shannon is smart and kind and eager to take on the challenge of this dog. We’ve agreed that I will hold a place here for her in case Gala can’t adapt to her new setting, but both Shannon and I are hopeful that she will.


Next week I send my daughter off to college and a few weeks later I send my oldest son across the Atlantic to study in Cyprus. Sending Gala to Shannon’s is kind of a tiny test run for my heart. Trusting them to be successful without me and knowing that it’s the best thing for them. All this good-bye saying is wearing on my soul.

Thank goodness that Yang is still here. This puppy is the definition of happiness. She is sweet beyond measure, sauntering across the grass with a happy gait, an ever-present smile on her face. She never runs out of kisses and loves every person she meets with an unconditional immediacy that is often missing in our world.

I’ve wondered over the last few weeks how such an amazing puppy hasn’t been adopted yet, but this morning I decided that everything happens for a reason. I need an enormously loving, well-behaved puppy right now and maybe the powers that be saw that coming.


Thanks for reading!

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13 thoughts on “All This Good-Bye Saying is Wearing on a Soul”

  1. I felt your sadness as I read your posts. Lots of good byes and sending your child overseas is hard too and to couple that with a college bound child, and Gala’s absence is a lot of goodbyes. I too will face sending my youngest off to NY for college. Goodbyes are never easy but the reunions are worth waiting for. I think the change will be good for Gala and hopefully some day soon Gala will find her permanent true love. Thanks for your courage to share and endure continuous partings that tug constantly on the old heart strings.


    1. Thank you Laura. It is hard. Sometimes more than others. This one reminds me of Ginger last summer, only this time I don’t get to complete the journey with her. Still, I know we did all we could. Thank you for understanding and good luck with your own good-bye. Blessings.


  2. Is Shannon adopting Gala, or just fostering her and helping with her training? Either way, I’m sure it is hard for you to let her go, but I am impressed with your ability to recognize that Gala needs more than you can give her right now. I don’t foster animals, but I can imagine that it takes an incredible strength to allow a dog into your home (and heart) knowing that the time will come when it needs to leave. Thank you for doing that!!!


    1. Shannon is another OPH foster. It’s a good move for Gala, but as you can imagine it’s hard not to see this one through after all our time with her. The longer they stay, the harder it is for us to let them go so this one’s a doozy. Hopefully, though, it helps her finally find her forever home and that’s the ultimate goal and why we go through what we do. Thanks for reading and for your kind words.


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