Yesterday our dog Goldie went on a "vacation" to my parents' house. At least that's what we're calling it to the kids - it might end up being a permanent vacation. It breaks my heart to write this post because Goldie has been with us for over six years (if I'm doing my math correctly), spending a year with us in our previous house before we moved to the house we're currently in.
Goldie really is such a good dog but we've been having a number of problems with her lately. The most recent, but most distressing, is that she's started peeing in the basement (carpet) and occasionally pooping there as well. We don't go down to the main room of the basement every day so that means the stain gets set and is a real pain to clean up and clear the room of the odor. We take her out around 11pm before we go to bed, but it doesn't seem to help.
Also, she runs away. If I'm coming in the front door with the girls and waiting for Catherine to slowly make her way in the door, Goldie will push past both of us in order to get outside. When outside, there's no point chasing or calling her. She won't come back until she feels like it - a few hours later. Once our friend Dustin was at our house for a few days while we were away and Goldie escaped - we got a series of voicemails from him in his pursuit of her that had us cracking up. I felt so bad because Matt and I know that Goldie will not come back when you call or chase her and if we had gotten Dustin's call we could have told him that his pursuit was futile. I just remembered why Goldie got away that time - Dustin saw her electric fence type collar on and figured he could let her out - but Goldie doesn't really care too much about those pesky electric fences. Unless you're keeping a careful watch on her (Dustin - didn't you decide to shower or something while she was out??) she'll dart through that fence and decide it's not worth going through again to come back. Plus we have a small stream in our backyard, that has made fencing in the backyard pretty impossible. Our dog who really dislikes water, wants to be free to roam the neighborhood so much that she just runs through the stream to freedom on the other side.
In addition to that we recently discovered that Matt is mildly allergic to dogs. We don't have a big enough house to have a separate area for Goldie to sleep - unless we put her in the basement in which case she'd probably just pee everywhere - so Goldie sleeps in our room and when we're not home she rejects her dog bed for OUR bed. If our room is closed up tightly (if not tightly enough she'll push that door open) she'll lounge on the couches - so basically everywhere that Matt could sleep or sit is covered in dog dander.
A smaller, but still consistent issue is that in her excitement to greet everyone who comes to the house, she jumps up and attempts to lick you. Which isn't too bad when you're over 5 feet tall, but if you're a 3 year old, it puts you right in her range. When kids come over who are scared of dogs Goldie has to go upstairs, in the basement, or outside. Which isn't where she wants to be.
All of those factors together have led us to giving Goldie a trial run at my parents. I don't think I could ever do this if it wasn't my parents who have a great house for dogs and enable us continue to be a part of Goldie's life. They have a big fenced in backyard, with lots of room to run and lots of rabbits and other creatures for Goldie to chase. Goldie is happiest when she's running free, something that, try as we might, we've never been able to work out for her and my ultimate hope is that she'll be happier having a home that enables her to get more exercise and play time than she does now.
I do feel like a bit of a failure because I'm giving my dog away. I couldn't really think about it too much yesterday because when I did I would get really sad. I'm torn because it just doesn't feel right, to give your pet away, but I know we'll see her whenever we visit my family and vice versa. Also - Goldie is a gentle dog who loves people - if you pet her and feed her, she's a friend for life. So....I don't think she'll really miss us. I know you might not believe me, but it's true. She ran away when Ella was born (before we brought her home - so it wasn't acting out over a new baby) and when my mom found her at someone's house a few streets up, she said that Goldie seemed happy as could be and it seemed like she would have stayed there forever without a problem. It made me really sad at the time (ok, could have been the new baby hormones) but now I'm hoping it just means that Goldie doesn't get too attached to her people family - as long as she is loved, she is happy. Perhaps not, but at least let me think that!
The girls have been surprisingly sad about Goldie leaving. They don't pay her much attention - Catherine is always yelling at her not to eat her food (happens pretty frequently) and Ella is usually trying to discipline her or brush her teeth. We told them that Goldie is going on vacation to Nama and Papap's house. In their minds it is temporary (which it might end up being - we're all kind of looking at this as a trial run to see how everyone does with it) but still Ella insisted on having a few pictures taken with Goldie before she left.
Last night Catherine started crying about 15 minutes after we put her down. When Matt went in to see what was wrong she told him she didn't want Goldie at Nama's house, she wanted Goldie at our house. Just a tad bit heartbreaking.
Our house has felt very quiet today and I had to stop myself from throwing the kids' leftovers into the dog bowl a few times already. It's hard to know whether or not this is the right decision - I just hope that Goldie is happy - that's what will enable us to have peace with the whole situation.