On Making Hard Decisions

I’m rehoming Milo.

This was probably the hardest choice I’ve had to make to date. Harder than deciding to quit my job in Michigan and move home. If only because it hugely affects a life other than mine. Harder than deciding to get a dog – which is a problem of its own.

I’m rehoming Milo.

Sometimes I have to say it again and again until I stop feeling the tinge of nausea I feel every time. This decision has been a long time coming. And when I faced it it was like a wave. I ran away from it for so so long and when I finally stopped and faced it it hit me, but I didn’t drown. I coasted. I’m still coasting. The wave hasn’t totally ebbed yet.

I’m rehoming Milo.

And I’m doing it for both selfless and selfish reasons. When I got Milo I was unemployed and naive. Even though I knew I would be working a full time job, I figured I could make it work. In my plan I’d buy a house with a back yard, close to work. I would come home for lunches on days Milo was home. And he’d go to day care a couple of times a week. I’d seen my friends do it. I thought I could too. But there are things we can’t plan for. And things that, in my naivite, I chose to ignore.

I’m rehoming Milo.

Sometimes you can do all the planning in the world, but still your life will go where it may. Instead of buying a house, I ended up renting. I searched high and low and found an amazing apartment that would accept dogs. It’s not that hard in Portland. This city loves its canine (and feline) companions. I found Milo an awesome daycare and he went twice a week. On days he was home, if the weather allowed, I’d take him to work for half the day. He had to stay in the car, but I could more easily take him on walks those days.

I’m rehoming Milo.

Then reality hit. This was harder than I thought. Sure there are excuses I could give. But what it came down to is that the time I was able to give Milo was not enough. Though he seemed perfectly content – he wasn’t ruining anything (amazing) and I actually transitioned him out of his crate at this time – something in him was slowly dulling. His excitement was a little delayed. And the cries that would come now and again when I walked out were truly heart wrenching.

I’m rehoming Milo.

So maybe he wasn’t so perfectly content. Just well-behaved. When I got Milo, an Australian Shepherd mix, a good friend of my mom’s told her I should reconsider. Aussies are high energy dogs, she said, and smart. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. And boy was she right. Sure, he is a good dog and he knows what he can and cannot do. But he deserves more. He deserves a home with people that can give him more time, all the time. He is a dog that deserves all the time.

I’m rehoming Milo.

And I’m doing in the way I believe will benefit Milo the most. Working closely with the rescue that helped me train Milo when I found out he was deaf, I’ve met several families that have shown interest. Though fostering Milo after deciding to give him up has been tough, my hope in rehoming him was not to get him out of my life, but give him a better life. This week I finally met Milo’s forever family. Though his new home is not exactly what I pictured (a big farm with lots of dogs and maybe other animals to run around with and herd), it is somehow even more perfect.

Milo is going to a new home.

A new home. With a new family who is more capable of caring for him than I am.

Milo is going to a new home.

A home where he will be able to spend almost no time alone. A home recently purchased by a couple who is much more settled down than I. A home with a fenced in backyard.

Milo is going to a new home.

But it’s not just the home that is new, but the life. A life where he gets to go to work with his hoomans every day and to a ranch to run free twice a week. A life when after an exhausting day of socializing and exploring the office, he gets to go home, maybe go for a run, and then watch over his people while they chill on the couch watching tv.

Milo is going to a new home.

And I believe he will be so much happier.

Milo is going to a new home.

And I have cried some tears, and I will cry many more. And Milo might be confused about my disappearance, and think I didn’t care for him, but soon enough his new life will become the only one he knows.

Milo is going to a new home.

And we will both be better and stronger for it.

Lessons learned:

  • Make sure you are ready for a dog.
  • Make sure your life is ready for a dog right now – don’t plan for it happening in the future, you can’t plan for everything.
  • Rescue don’t buy – you can handle it, I promise, and while there are some good responsible breeders out there, there are too many that are not and so many dogs in shelters that need a good home.
  • Give some serious thought to what you’re looking for in a dog and what you have to offer. Be able to speak to this.
  • Do your research – both on breeds and on specific dogs. Most shelters and rescues will have been fostering the dog, so they know it. Ask questions. Share your concerns. They’re as committed to finding the dog its forever home as you are.
  • Be prepared for rejection – a good rescue will be looking for the right home not just a home. Understand that that might not be you. Feel free to ask why, perhaps there is something you’re overlooking and you don’t even realize that will make you reconsider dog ownership or even the breed you’ve been looking at.
  • Know what you’re getting yourself into – a lot of people have an idea of what being a dog owner will be like, but that idea is often wrong. Do research. Ask your friends. See if they’d be willing to let you dog sit for a weekend. Be honest with yourself if realize you’re not ready.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s