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Mom Talk: The Agony of Having to Give Up a Pet

Trish Neild Barry found telling the kids was the most difficult thing to do.

I hate having to make my kids cry.  I do.  It is a terrible feeling.  I don’t know if you all remember, but a month or two ago I wrote an article about what lengths we will go through for the love of a pet.  Last week, my husband and I reached our breaking point and made the decision that we needed to say “Good-bye” to Daisy and send her back to the greyhound rescue where we got her.

We really had tried.  It had been sit to eight months of almost every day doggie-dietary –distress on our kitchen floor.  Actually, quite often it was twice a day as it happened overnight and while we were at work.  We had been to the vet countless times, tried medications, diet changes, chicken and rice, just rice, just chicken, grain free food, and finally a medicine that we had to order from Canada online.  Nothing seemed to work.  We really think it was the energy in our house. 

My husband and I traced back the time and Daisy began to get sick more often when our son started to walk and talk (well babble) and he is VERY high energy.  Don’t get me wrong, he would never hurt the dogs, but there are lots of shrieks, and laughs and screams and crying going on in our kitchen on a normal day.  I think all of this was just too much for our gentle quiet greyhound.  My husband and I decided that Daisy needed a chance at a quieter home to try and get better.  And, while we may not keep our house immaculate, we need to have a clean kitchen floor that our two year old can walk through barefoot in the summer and not worry what he might be walking through each and every morning. 

Now we had to tell the kids.   We did this in stages.  We started before we received the medication that we ordered from Canada by discussing the fact that Daisy hadn’t been feeling too well lately, and that we were going to give these meds a try, and really hope they worked, but if they didn’t, we might need Daisy to go to a new and quiet home where she would have a better chance of getting better.  We also explained that we didn’t want their little brother to be walking through the “Daisy-rrhea” as we coined it in the summer time.  Alex, our 5 year old, asked if we could just bring back Josh our son.  She knew the answer was going to be “No” but she figured she would give it a try.   Sammy, ever sensitive, cried about how much she would miss Daisy.  We all agreed that we hoped the new meds would work.  They were hoping for the best, but still thinking ahead, “So, can we get a new dog?”   We were expecting this question, and weren’t really surprised.  They have ½ my DNA and I can’t survive without dogs for very long. 

The Canada medications didn’t work.  Now, maybe we didn’t try as long as we could have, but honestly after 6-8 months we were at our wits end.  I contacted the greyhound foster mom I had worked with and we made plans, and she was sensitive to my request that I bring Daisy to her rather than her picking up Daisy and taking her away while the kids were home.  Once the plans were finalized we told the girls.  Sobbing ensued, mostly from Sammy and me.  

The next day we all gave Daisy some extra hugs and kisses; and wouldn’t you know for extra guilt there was no mess on the floor that morning.  I finished work an hour early and loaded Daisy and her bed and leftover food into the back of my car and brought her to the foster-mom crying all the way there and all the way home.  I am not a fan of crying.  I don’t really care to be in THAT in touch with my feelings. It is far too exhausting. 

So when Alex asked if we could get a new dog that weekend I looked at her and said “Well, we can try!” I was tired of crying and seeing the kids cry.  My husband knew another dog was inevitable eventually, though he was in denial that it was going to be this soon.  So what if it appeared fickle, I wanted a new dog too, and once in a while it feel really good to be the one who puts a smile on the kids’ faces!  I made an appointment for the Simon Foundation for our family for Saturday.

We looked at the dogs on the website so we had an idea of who was available, and which dogs with safe with kids, cats and other dogs.  We also knew that we didn’t want another senior dog, and not a puppy.  We were hoping for something about a year old.  They brought us “Kara” a black lab mix who they think is somewhere between 6 and 10 months, and we all pretty much fell in love.  We looked at one other dog as well, but there was no comparison, Kara was the dog for us, she was great with the kids, gentle with our son, and got along with our basset hound, Nora.  So home she came with us, but not before we renamed her “Zeta.”  (Pronounced ZAYDA).  Sammy made it up and Alex agreed and we all agreed.  She is a very sweet dog, and as we get to know her she is the dog version of our son.  She is into everything.  She makes us laugh one minute and yell “NO!!!!” the next.  So far no accidents in the house though so we are doing well on that front.  She is gentle with the kids, kisses our son, and has made herself quite comfy on our couches and bed.

I do have some guilt that there is a new dog in our home this quick.  But then I think, we are still helping a rescue dog, and why not feel good about that, and feel good about making your kids smile and giggle after having them cry.  I have been following up on Daisy’s progress now that she is with the head of the greyhound organization.  She seems to be doing okay, not eating much, but is running with her dogs.  We all hope the best for her that she can find a good home to adopt her, a quiet home that takes care of her and loves her like we did, but that is quieter and doesn’t make her quite so nervous. 

So there it is, a week of failing as the mother of a greyhound, making my kids cry, crying myself to a point of dehydration, and taking the suggestion of a 5 year old that it will all be better if we just get another dog.  That 5 year old… she knew what she was talking about, because no one can stay sad when getting puppy kisses!

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