There are several things in life that make me feel like a terrible person: my favorite character from the entire Toy Story franchise is Lotso, the villainous fuzzy, pink bear from the third installment; I very rarely send out thank you notes, because I’m pretty useless in the organization department; I hate folding laundry, so we sometimes just dress ourselves out of hampers of clean clothing; and, le piece de resistance, I am currently considering giving our dog to my brother-in-law. (Perhaps I should amend that statement to, “We are currently considering giving our dog away,” as my husband and I are both terrible people in this case.)
Let me begin by saying that I am an epic bleeding heart. I once drove six miles with my arm out of the car window because a small green bug flew onto my arm as I entered the car and I wanted him to fly back out before he got trapped in the car overnight and died. These are the things I consider. I do not take potential negative consequences lightly. I was (and still am, to the certain degree) the kid who attributed emotional consciousness to inanimate objects. I always found it impossible to donate old things – they might miss me and be heartbroken and confused! (Dear Toy Story: thanks for capitalizing on that ancient fear!)
Therefore, the fact that I really want to give this dog away is making me question my trusty humanity. Only terrible, irresponsible people do things like that. However, when my husband’s brother was here last weekend and brought it up out of thin air, the idea seemed to really stick with all three of us (humans, that is – we haven’t asked the dog).
Our dog really is the cutest dog I’ve ever seen. She’s part basset and part Welsh springer spaniel and is super gorgeous. She’s also incredibly loyal and sweet and loving – to my husband and I and to no one else. We rescued her when she was eight months old from the shelter where she was born (and subsequently raised for her entire life prior to our taking her in) and at the time we had zero way of knowing what trouble was to come. In her first six months with us, we discovered she had crippling social anxiety (she is, to this day, absolutely terrified of people she is unfamiliar with), two ear infections, two eye infections, spay incontinence (meaning she was spayed too early and now has no bladder control and must be on estrogen replacement medication for the rest of her life or her bladder lets down while she’s asleep or resting), mange (initially diagnosed as a skin allergy, for which she was prescribed a round of drugs), constant issues with her anal glands, and a terrible abscess in her skull that could have killed her (the resulting emergency corrective surgery cost several emotional breakdowns on my end and around $700).
In addition, despite loving our backyard and having free reign when we’re home (with the door wide open), she will not go outside and stay there if we are not present. We can’t leave her outside while we are at work because she sits clawing at the door for hours or, occasionally, finds her way back into the house through our small window cat door (a feat that is actually pretty amazing). We can’t put in a doggy door because this house is a rental.
She also pees on our bed. A lot. After nearly two years of allowing her to sit with us on the couches and sleep with us in bed, she’s now on a dog bed on the floor and sleeping her crate at night, because despite all our best efforts, the peeing/marking on every conceivable surface is just not getting better.
This is a much longer and more terrible story (for instance, I haven’t even touched on the shedding), but let’s suffice to say that she was my husband’s Christmas present in 2010 and is his dream dog and he adores her and loves her and has tried so hard with her and there is just no improvement at all. The only thing that has gotten more positive is that she tolerates my family and likes my dad now, but I think that’s because they constantly feed her treats at parties.
I know it’s hit a breaking point because now my husband is willing to find her a new home. Our quality of life here is just out of control disgusting. If there’s not dog hair on something, there’s dog pee (or dog anal gland markings) on it. Like, actually.
My brother-in-law lives with their father and their two elderly dogs. My father-in-law is retired and is home all day and is an absolute dog lover. They have a large, fenced-in yard and love their current dogs to pieces. We haven’t considered finding her a new place ever before because quite honestly, I don’t think anyone else would deal with what we’ve dealt with. I think she’d be dropped off at a shelter somewhere (or worse: left out on a freeway somewhere) and I could absolutely not live with myself if something terrible happened to her. She’s adorable. She’s just miserable with us.
Are we awful for considering this?