This past weekend, my husband and I made an emotional 9 hour trek to a Target parking lot just outside of Indianapolis. It is the spot we chose as a halfway point to meet up with an old friend who was excited to give our dog her new home. This probably sounds terrible right away, why on earth would we send our dog to live with someone else? The number one reason – our cat. We brought this sweet dog into our home just three short months ago from a foster at a local rescue. We truly could not have asked for a better dog, she was well behaved, gentle, and total love bug – but the cat just wasn’t having it. No matter what we tried, she was sinking into a depression of sorts – not eating and chewing off her fur – it was just sad to watch and her well being was at risk. We were willing to keep trying what we could to make this work for both animals, but then our world shifted in another way.
My husband spent over 7 years traveling Monday through Friday for a long term project at work, and late in 2015, this project finally ended. With this, he took on a new position in his company that meant he would never see this type of travel again – in fact, he was working at home with only very limited travel (a day or two on occasion) ahead of him. We waited nearly a year with him being in this new role before finally pulling the trigger on adopting a rescue dog. We had wanted this for so many years, but knew that between my travel and his, we weren’t in a position to provide a good home and be available for a dog, but now we finally were. We couldn’t have been happier – we started our search and found our sweet Harper within a couple of weeks. We filled our home with toys, treats, blankets and dog beds. I picked out adorable collars, hired a trainer and set up service with doggy day care so she could get out and play. We were instantly in love with Harper and she settled right in. Then my husband got a call. Despite his new position and this being an unusual scenario, they needed him on site for another long term project starting Thanksgiving week – and yes, Monday through Friday each week after that.
Now, I’ve touched on the fact that I’ve struggled with anxiety, and this news really threw me for a loop. I won’t go into my thoughts and feelings around the overall impact his travel is having on us quite yet, as we are still readjusting – but in terms of the dog, this was a situation we had not anticipated. With my husband gone 5 days a week, and my very demanding job, I knew deep inside that we weren’t in a position to provide the best for Harper. She would spend her days in day care, and many nights being boarded away from her home. My days sometimes run very long at the office and although other people leave by 5 because they have to pick up their kids, my needing to leave in time to get my dog wasn’t something that others would understand when the pressure is on at work. Then, what if she ever got sick? How could I take care of her properly? Without my husband, I didn’t have anyone else to turn to to help in such situations, and I certainly couldn’t tell my boss that I had to work at home because of a sick dog. That might fly once, but beyond that – it just isn’t an option.
I didn’t want to admit that we should let her go, and it felt so awful to have those thoughts swirling around my head. The tension continued to build and then one night, I burst into tears as I approached the subject with my husband. We had rescued her and intended to give her a forever home – how could we turn our back on her? But at the same time, how could we provide her with the home that she deserved? We knew in that moment what needed to be done. We were determined to keep her until the right place was found, because we refused to let her bounce around homes any further. After just a couple of weeks of searching, a dear friend of over 20 years reached out to me. He was states away, but had two dogs and had already decided he wanted to rescue another – and then he saw my situation and knew that Harper belonged in his home.
This brings us to this past weekend. Because of the 17+ hour distance, we selected a half way point to meet up for the drop off. I’ve never felt so much heart ache and relief at the same time, but watching Harper happily jump up into the backseat of his car after he drove so far just to get her, confirmed that this was the right decision. Seeing photos over this week of her loving life with her new family melts my heart, and although things are starting to get back to normal in this house, there are parts of me that will remain changed forever because of her. My biggest lesson from all of this: not everything has to be perfect all of the time. It’s okay to have a little disorder in the house once in a while, it’s okay that everything isn’t in it’s place. The slobbery kisses, dog fur on the couch, toys strewn about, and drips from her chin after a big, wet drink of water, were well worth every bit of love she gave us. Harper will be missed, but not by the cat, who by the way, is already getting back to normal. Mission accomplished.