So, I’ve made a decision. And the puppies have been very helpful in my decision-making process.
All kinds of people have been visiting, trooping into our house, sitting on a couch or floor with a puppy in their lap. For me, a solitary writer, this is a welcome break. The puppies also love it and need the socialization.
But the dogs in this house find visitors stressful. I had hoped that Oreo’s calm happy state would rub off on Frankie and Gracie, but it seems to be the reverse. As more people come to visit, Oreo is more stressed. He’s been a perfect gentleman, but it’s clear he would prefer a quieter home.
I think if the other two didn’t react to a new car in the driveway as a potential terrorist attack, he wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. Unlike my other two, I’m pretty sure Oreo would adjust to this if I asked him too, but I don’t want to ask him to.
It’s not fair to Oreo. Which has led me to this conclusion: It would be selfish to keep him. While we all love Oreo unequivocally, Oreo would be happier in a different sort of house.
He doesn’t need us.
Sure, we could make him happy, but so could a lot of other families. Other families where his mama’s attention isn’t divvied up between two other dogs and a changing cast of foster friends.
Oreo deserves to be the star of the show, not a supporting player. He deserves a home where he can be Oreo, and not the emotional support dog for Frankie and Gracie (and me!).
He’s a big dog who has been through a lot and deserves the best possible life with the years he has left. I could see him being an amazing Therapy dog or an absolute best friend for just about anyone. He has a ton of love to give. I want him to have a family where he doesn’t have to stand in line for attention.
So, while it will decidedly break my heart to let him go, I’m gonna let him go.
If I wasn’t completely decided, this morning’s hike with Frankie confirmed it. As Frankie dragged me off the trail or yanked my arm at every squirrel, falling leaf, sudden noise, or imagined monster, and refused to sit or even look at me when asked (instead of jumping towards a passing dog), I realized that he is far from finished his training. And then to confirm my suspicions, he took off for the woods when I opened the car door at home, ignoring my yells for a good five minutes.
He may be 16 months old, but he’s still a puppy. He needs my attention. Just because he passed three levels of obedience and got his CGC, doesn’t mean he’s all done. Raising a puppy is a big job (are you listening potential puppy adopters?). It takes A LOT of time and a constant, vigilant effort.
When we adopted Gracie, I was busy with three kids, a part-time job, a fledgling writing career, and a small farm.
I had no business adopting a puppy and I wish the rescue that gave her to me had an adoption coordinator who was brave enough to tell me that. But they didn’t and here Gracie is – a dog we love but a dog we have to ‘manage’ and who turns a deaf ear at every request. And it’s not her fault; it’s ours.
Frankie needs my undivided attention right now. He is a good dog, but will be a better dog, only if I put in the time and effort.
Nick likes to say, “You make your mistakes on the first kid,” every time we encounter a familiar experience with Ian and remember the first time we parented through it with Brady. Almost always it goes better. Which doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with Brady, just that we’re lucky he was bright and survived our mistakes.
Dogs, at least Gracie, don’t have as much mental bandwidth or other adults investing in them. Brady turned out great, despite us. Gracie, well, let’s just say Gracie still needs a personal aid to navigate the world. I don’t want that for Frankie.
(please don’t tell my kids I was comparing them to the dogs!)
So, very long story short—we are not adopting Oreo.
If you know of a family deserving of his amazingness who can give him a happy, happy life, direct them to the OPH web page.
Oreo could also use your prayers this week. He, along with OPH Bernadine, will be undergoing heartworm treatment on Wednesday and Thursday and then will have two-weeks of crate rest while the treatment takes affect and hopefully rids them of the worms that would otherwise consume their heart and lungs. It’s a painful and scary experience and both of these precious pups could use your good energy directed their way.
Please, please, please don’t forget your dog’s monthly preventatives. No dog should have to go through what Oreo and Bernadine will go through this week, but it’s necessary to save their lives. I’ll post updates on Oreo’s treatment on Another Good Dog facebook group
Puppy report coming up next! Hopefully, Thursday!
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like to know more about the book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs, check AnotherGoodDog.org, where you can find more pictures of the dogs from the book (and some of their happily-ever-after stories), information on fostering, the schedule of signings, and what you can do right now to help shelter animals!
If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more pictures and videos of my foster dogs past and present, be sure to join the Another Good Dog facebook group.
Released August 2018 from Pegasus Books and available for preorder now: