We gave our 4yr old dog to a new owner today. My husband Andy bought him as a pup before we met, so he was well and truly hubby’s dog, and not mine. Given that I am allergic to dogs and have never really liked big dogs anyway, my grief today surprises me.
Elvis lived outside with Swan, a 12 yr old same breed – german shorthaired pointer, so they didn’t aggravate my allergies. I never asked Andy to get rid of them and never complained about having to live with dogs. We walked them together on the condition that I didn’t have to pick up their poos, and on the days Andy was out I fed them. It was never a ‘it’s me or the dog’ situation. I knew how much Andy loved his dogs.
Elvis, however, had an anxiety problem. He needed near-constant attention, without which he would whine incessantly. His crying was very frustrating and neither Andy nor I had the time or money to invest in training it out of him. Andy’s love for Elvis grew tired and irritated. Elvis also annoyed Swan who is too old to keep up with his energy – he would steal his bed and irritate her with his crying to the extent that she would bark at him to shut up. I wanted to give Elvis more attention but if I pat him too much I would end up wheezing, sneezing and itchy. It was to my great surprise that Andy suggested finding him a new home a couple of months ago. Nevertheless, I didn’t think much of it as Andy is a dreamer – he talks a lot about ‘plans’ but doesn’t execute most of them.
He executed this plan, and someone came to pick Elvis up this morning. Andy made sure she was a suitable dog owner for Elvis – she has a large property some hours north of here, several kids and a 6 month old doberman-cross that needs energetic company. I stayed out the back pruning some geranium because I hate saying goodbye. I didn’t think I’d really mind Elvis disappearing. The silencing of his incessant crying would be a relief! Yet now he’s gone I am absolutely racked with guilt. I know he’ll be crying now, wondering where his master, Andy, is.
One part of me tells me that he’ll be happier in his new home with all the kids and young pup to keep him occupied, but somewhere else in my head is a face that is frowning disappovingly and wondering how I could have been so heartless. How could I fail to protest to Andy about handing his dog over to someone we don’t know that well? Elvis was a happy dog. He was anxious, but very happy and energetic. I really hope he is happier in his new home.
I can hear Swan beginning to whine a bit now. Elvis annoyed her greatly, but he was her mate nonetheless. She has clearly enjoyed her time alone this morning, but is now beginning to wonder when her mate is coming back….