A Most Difficult Decision


When we brought our little guy, Winston, home at the end of October, we were thrilled to add a new family member to our household.  He brought MH and me a lot of joy and happiness but also a lot of frustration and anxiety (on my part).  Having a puppy (and a new baby) is a LOT of work.  Because I work out of the home, I’m home all day long and I thought it would be perfect for us to get a puppy because I could care for him and be at home to meet all of his needs.  Great, right?!

Yes!  Except that being in a new city and only knowing less than a handful of people is hard enough but being stuck at home with a new puppy makes it even harder.  I found myself getting more and more frustrated with having to be responsible for this little (adorable) guy who didn’t leave my side and when I left his side, he cried.  As he grew older, he became aggressive at times – nipping and biting (though never breaking skin or drawing blood) when he got frustrated and angry.  He also was underfoot all the time and tripped me a couple of times.

We signed up for obedience training, etc.  Then my nausea kicked in and I could. not. stand. the. smell. of. Winston.

I was coming off my hinges.  I was/am depressed.  I felt stuck at home because of him.  When we found out that I am pregnant, we were thrilled but started to slowly consider how a dog would affect our family as it expands with a baby.  We became concerned because he continued to nip at us especially me during the day.  MH worried about Winston tripping me while pregnant – we know that I’d be OK but the further along in pregnancy I become the more challenging it can be if I fall especially if I’m home alone.  I could go on…

Taking Winston for a walk a couple of weeks ago, a woman came up and gave Winston some pets.  She looked up at me and said, “Petting a dog just lowers my blood pressure.”  She thanked me and then walked away.  I realized that having Winston in my life raised my blood pressure and brought me angst.  I’m hormonal (I know that will go away as my hormones even out) but there’s more to how I am feeling that is directly tied to him that I can’t explain with words.  I told MH that I felt like I’m dating a guy who I really love but know deep down that it can’t last forever.

After a LOT of tears and many discussions, we came to the agonizing decision to find Winston a new home.  Yesterday, the rescue group for Winston’s breed came to our house and picked him up.  I cried all day (and every day before for many days).  We know that he will end up in a good home.  I talked at length with the head of the group about what we hope for his future and she promised me that they will find him a good home, a good family.  In my heart, Winston will live with a family who loves Winston as much as we do.  She also said that more than half of the rescues that they make are because this breed bites and nips babies and toddlers…that clearly is a concern for us with a new baby on the way…

I know that our decision might bring a lot of criticism and it is criticism that I understand and respect but will not respond to.  This was an extremely difficult decision that I will not beat myself up about because of others’ opinions.  This was the only decision that we could deal with as we think ahead to our future with a growing (human) family.

MH wanted his wife back.  I wanted myself back.  I already feel the thin veil of depression lifting.

I KNOW that Winston will be happy with his new family.  Right now, he is at doggie camp and playing with some new friends until the right family is selected.  We told him over and over again how much we love him – I looked him squarely in the eyes and told him multiple times in the last few days together.  I’m confident that he knows it.  We spent a LOT of time focusing just on him in his last days with us in our home.  We snuggled a lot with him (even I did in spite of my nausea) and held him in our arms to show him how much we love him.

Winston was the right pup for us but it’s the wrong time.  There may be another dog in our future but there might not be.  Winston will remain in our hearts forever.  It’ll be a while before our hearts heal and before we can look at dogs without feeling a deep ache…

*********************

Dear Winston,

We love you so much.  You brought us incredible joy and happiness in the short time that you were in our life. Your endless snuggles on the couch and your greetings in the morning when we let you out of your crate will be missed.  I know that the new family whose lives you enter are incredibly lucky.  We will miss you every day.

We love you always,

Mama and Papa

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5 thoughts on “A Most Difficult Decision

  1. I’m so sorry you had to make this decision at all. Last summer we ended up giving our dog to my husband’s parents because as we had our daughter more and more time, it became more and more evident that he was jealous and increasingly hostile toward her. It sucks because for us it was having to choose between family, but we have to believe we made the right choice by letting the dog go instead of taking a risk. There’s always something you can’t foresee, and I hope nobody gives you a hard time for making your decision.

  2. When we got our pup this summer, I was really overwhelmed. If our breeder had lived closer, I would have seriously considered giving her back. For us, after two months, it all got easier, and now I’m glad I stuck with it, but I was miserable when she was little.

    Glad Winston is going to a good home!

  3. I’m sorry. That must have been a really tough decision, though it sounds like it was the right one for all three of you (well, four, counting baby!) I hope Winston finds a good home soon.

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