Friday, June 18, 2010

Saying Goodbye to the Dog

***Disclaimer...I'm telling a bit of a long story here about saying goodbye to the dog, so that those of you who received Xanthe's email will understand why she was so upset about giving the dog away. Hopefully you won't think of me as an evil mom like her email made me sound.***

(This is Otie's goodbye backpack the girls made with all of his toys and treats and even a picture of the girls for him to look at.)

As many of you know, for Christmas we bought Xanthe and Xoe a dog, Otie. We got a great deal on a purebred chihuahua my Aunt Dianne found for us. He was definitely a darling blonde teacup Chihuahua.

The girls had been begging me for a dog for probably five years, but I adamantly told them no, because as we all know, the mom ends up taking care of the pet, no matter how many promises and vows she gets from the children that they will care for it. So, for me to consider getting them a dog, let alone actually doing it, was a big thing for me, and they knew it. They knew they had to take care of it or Mom would not be happy.

The girls were pretty good about taking care of him. When they could remember, they took him out to go to the bathroom, played with him and treated him like their own little baby. They cuddled with him for naps, made him dance around on his hind legs and took him on short trips with us (remember Holland and Belgium?)

In time, though, it got to be a very difficult thing to have a puppy. I won't even go into how much of a hassle it was getting the paperwork and regulations signed off to bring it over to Germany from the United States. Let's just was hard.

Another big detail that made it difficult for us to have a dog was that Xanthe and Xoe were gone most of the day. They left at 6:45 a.m. to get onto the bus and didn't get home until almost 4:00 p.m. Then they had homework, and dinner, and jobs, and extra curricular activities (soccer twice a week, Activities Days, etc.). So, guess who ended up taking care of the dog? Yup, you're right. Me. And remember? I'm not a dog person.

He also still wasn't potty trained even after we tried every method in the book. We were even resorting to hiring a dog trainer.

Then we realized that even if we did successfully finally potty train him with a trainer, we still had the negative side that we would always be traveling a lot. Whether it was to the states for the whole summer, or for weeks at a time around Europe, we would have to either pay someone, or ask a favor of someone, to dog sit for that much time. I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to.

So, with much reluctance, we all (yes, the girls too) decided it would be much better for everyone (including the dog) to find him a new owner. The girls were pretty upset about this, but they were accepting it. They knew that if they wanted to travel at all, or go home to see their dad, they needed to say goodbye. There were many tears shed, and "Help me deal with this" emails to family and friends...but in the end, it worked out for the best...and here's why....

Out of the 7 desperate responses we received from people "NEEDING" a chihuahua "desperately," the first ones who responded (an American couple) were probably the most amazing dog owners we have ever met.

They brought their chihuahua, Harley, over to see how he would respond to Otie, because with other dogs their chihuahua didn't respond well. But these two dogs totally hit it off. Brittany, the mom, and her husband fell in love with Otie. They knew right off that he and Harley would be great brothers. They even stayed for an hour and a half just chit- chatting and telling us all the great things they're going to do with Otie, as well as becoming amazed when X&X trained Harley to sit on command (they did the same thing with Otie), something they've been trying to do for the 2 years they've had their dog. hahaha.

Xanthe and Xoe were amazed at how much of a better home Otie was going to that they actually walked Otie out to the car and waved bye to him without even a tear. They couldn't believe that Otie got to sit on her lap in the back on top of a blanket, like a prince, and that he and the other dog would be sleeping WITH the couple in their bed (actually Xanthe was kind of a bit mad about this one cuz she thought Otie still needed to sleep in his kennel). Otie was going to be another one of her babies (along with their first child, Harley) since they didn't have any other kids.

It was such a good thing the girls got to meet Otie's new parents. It was very therapeutic for them. It also helped that they had a friend over to play with afterward, AND Brian took them to the movies to get their mind off of it. All in all, it worked out for the best and they've only mentioned him one or two times.

Maybe some day when they're older we can get another dog, but while we're here in Europe it's just not feasible. Thanks to all my family who were super supportive of them and helped these little girls deal with saying goodbye to their baby. (I'm serious. That's how they viewed saying goodbye to him. They were pretty upset at first. Of course, me not being a dog person thought it was ridiculous, but I totally understand that it was important to them so I'm trying to be sympathetic, and was happy that other people were too. So thank you.)

(And of course I had to include a little Spencer-action in this post. Cutie, huh?)


Randi said...

I am always impressed at how mature the girls are for only being 10. I am sure Otie is enjoying his new family. And yes, Spencer is such a cutie!

heather said...

we had to give our dogs away when wendy was born. it just wasn't working out. i couldn't care less but ryan is a little more like xanthe and it helped that he realized the dogs were going to a much better place.