Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Changes in the Pack

This is the second time I rehomed Charlie.  When I brought him home he was a stray about to be brought to the pound.  I couldn't stand another dog in the pound.  One more dog in means another cage needed, which means someone's gotta  go.  And you know what that means-- unnecessary death.  So I brought him home.  And it was one wild ride.

With two kids (and Sean was just a little baby) in my life, I don't know what I was thinking bringing in a puppy.  And boy was he a big puppy!  With his long legs and gigantic head, Charlie ran and jumped and did all the normal puppy things.  When he got older, about 7 months, I just couldn't handle him and two little guys.  So I found him a home with a big fenced yard.  Four months later his owners called me and said it wasn't working out because their other dog wouldn't get along with him.  He's a good boy who gets along with anyone and anything, but he can be overwhelming and their chihuahua just couldn't tolerate his high energy.  So I took him back.

Now he was even bigger!  But I didn't want to give up on him.  I worked some training into him and at the time we lived in a house with a backyard, so I took the time to exercise him.  And with enough walks and backyard run time, he did great.

After my deployment I moved into an apartment.  At first it was great!  It was just the two of us, going for multiple walks and jogs a day.  But once I brought the kids back home, all hell broke loose.  I realized I couldn't take him for walks as much as he wanted.  Having to haul two toddlers down a second floor for a walk as often as Charlie wanted was just not happening.  We'd go for a long evening walk and as soon as we went back inside, he was at the door wanting to go back outside.  He started getting stir crazy.

When the kids napped, poor Charlie was sitting by the door wanting out.  If I didn't take him out, he'd find something to destroy and just destroy it.  Though he was potty trained, I would come home to find poop and pee on the carpets.  The poor thing was just so cooped up that he was acting out in crazy ways.  Shredding anything he could get his jaws on, peeing in the kids' rooms, peeing on the couch, barking at the door for yet another walk.  He was just going nuts!  Even though we walked him for an hour in the morning and two hours in the evening on the weekdays, and then three walks a day on the weekends, he just couldn't get enough outside time.  I realized he wasn't going to do well in an apartment like I hoped. 

I found a family who was looking for a dog.  The husband used to have a German Shepherd and decided their dog would be of that breed.  I spoke to them about Charlie and they were dying to take him.  So that night I packed all his toys and leashes up.  As I was doing so, my heart began to sag.  Even though he was such a pain, he was still my baby.  He reminded me of Marley in the movie Marlie and Me.  Crazy but lovable.  I reached behind the TV on the entertainment center and found his squeaky toys.

I hate his squeaky toys.  And he loves them.  He carried them in his mouth all over the place just squeaking and it drove me insane.  But I never had the heart to throw them away.  Instead, I'd just hide them and he always found them.  I put the squeaky toys in his bag.  And that's when the tears came.

I called Patrick, who did all he could to console me even resorting to humor saying "He'll be fine!  They'd probably give him a better home than yours."  Of course that just made me cry more and he immediately explained that he was only kidding.  Men!

When I brought Charlie to his new family, all the worries I had about them faded.  He went straight to their yard, which is a huge fenced area that wrapped around the back and sides of their home.  Their kids (older ones, thank goodness) opened the gate and let him in and off he went.  He ran with all his heart.  He ran in circles, jumped, rolled on his back.  I knew then that this was the life he needed.  A place to run unleashed.  A place to burn his energy.  Anytime he needed.  Older kids who wouldn't get knocked over when he decided to go on a pupy run.  Two adults in the home so one could take him for a walk while the other stayed in with the kids.  A balanced home.

They had his own room prepared-- a sunroom filled with toys and a dog bed.  They explained that he'd have free run of the house but at night they wanted him to sleep in his room.  That all changed a couple of days later when they called and said he now sleeps in their son's bed with him.  That made me happy.

They love him.  And they have room for him.  And he doesn't need to wait at the door for everyone in the house to get ready for a walk.  He just goes out their doggy door and runs.    I sent them his puppy pictures.  And they sent back stories of what he'd been up to.

Being in the home without him seemed strangely calm.  Which was a nice change.  But it also left a void.  Since I had been a single mom, I always wanted a dog with us.  Something big that would provide an appearance of security.  Not an aggressive dog, but something that might make predators think twice before messing with us or even just a single woman living without a man in the home.  Sometime after Charlie was rehomed, I visited the humane society.  And that's where I found Bruce.

With the perfect temperament and energy for a single mom with little boys in an apartment, Bruce filled a hole in my heart.  A big part of me knows he's a rebound dog.  I missed Charlie.  I missed having a dog in the home.  But he's more than a rebound.  If you keep your eye out, you'll get to know more about Bruce in an upcoming blog.

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