A Hard Decision

March 7, 2022
Hard Decision

It was never our intention to come out on the road with three dogs, especially the yappers we have. On the right day, with a looming headache, the bark symphony could send me straight to migraine hell. Then I’m laid out on my bed, a pillow over my eyes to avoid any light/sound until I can handle life again.

Three dogs in a motorhome has sucked.

We had an experience a few nights ago where our puppy, Burton Guster, was very excited to meet our neighbor’s dog, slipped out of his harness and rushed over. As he eagerly approached, the neighbor shielded her dog like a prized possession. She was an older woman, and I would come to learn that her dog was sixteen and has cancer.

This woman then took the opportunity to yell at my daughter. “Your dog should be on a leash!” Halea apologized profusely, “He was on a leash, but he slipped out.” The woman continued to berate her. Truth is, she was right. Our dog belonged on a leash.

I could have let it go, but the woman had bullied my little girl, and this mama bear doesn’t take kindly to that. Besides, nothing at all happened to her dog. Nothing.

Hard Decision

I apologized again that my dog slipped his harness…

Then firmly insisted that my daughter didn’t deserve to be yelled at like that. The woman then shook a flashlight at my other dog, to which I asked her to stop. She denied shaking the flashlight, then threw a bag of dog poop in my direction. It was an unbelievable sequence of events, but I kept somehow kept my cool.

At that point, my husband came out. The therapeutic psych nurse that he is, asked the woman to lower her voice because the whole campground could hear her yelling. She kept yelling.

Next he said, “She’s crazy,” and encouraged me to walk away. He was right. She’s nuts.

I was rattled for a day or so after that interaction as I had a lot to think about.

Our puppy should not have been off leash. Her dramatic reaction to our puppy was in defense of her super old dog that “can’t defend itself”.  Also, she is crazy. Her dog holds so much value that decent human interaction has become secondary, as evidenced by her bullying an apologetic, 12-year-old girl.

Ultimately, though, neither dog belongs in a campground.  Her dog needs to be put down — Sorry, lady. — and our puppy, with a long life ahead of him, needs a new living arrangement.

Hard Decision

We’d been mulling the hard decision to give our dog away since July. Pulling the trigger has been nearly impossible because everyone in our family is so crazy about him. He is adorable beyond belief with his snow white fur, dark, empathetic eyes, and preposterous underbite.

Thankfully, this awful experience hammered home the outsized grief this well-intending dog brought to our lives. As I imagined living on the road, I never considered a pack of cute dogs needing exercise and frequent bathroom breaks would set the rhythm of my life. It has been the single hardest thing to endure, and a point of contention since we arrived in South Dakota last July.

I’ve had to take inventory many times over the past seven months. What could I change to make life easier? Losing the dogs has repeatedly come up as a possible way to ease my responsibilities, along with paper plates, sending Parker to the library, and dropping online school.

Life has improved, for sure, but the dogs continue to create work and uncomfortable situations. With this latest episode our hard decisions has finally become clear: Gus needs a new home. 

It was a hard decision. The worst in a long time.

That’s saying a lot considering we’ve packed up our whole life into a motorhome, driven completely across the country, and started roadschooling.

It was hard to admit that I had reached a limit because I love a good challenge! I hate to admit that there’s something I can’t do, and it was humbling to have that realization. 

Several times, I‘ve had the prompting to rehome Gus, via a craigslist ad. I tried posting an ad about three weeks ago, but it didn’t work and I never returned to the process.

In my frustration this week, I said a sincere prayer with the intention to follow through with whatever prompting I get. Almost instantly, I felt that same old prompting to post Gus on Craigslist. This time the ad posted. and within 15 minutes a woman reached out.

Apparently, her two teenage daughters lost their childhood pet last month, a chihuahua named Soldier. Within an hour she met Gus, and I felt good about turning him over to her. Before they left, she was holding him, and he was leaning into her like he leans into me.  I followed up with her the next day. They are over the moon in love with him and she’s so grateful.

I feel sad when I think of his little face…

With his underbite and his expressive eyes. I feel guilty with how much easier my life has become, not having the constant bark symphony, and not having to walk our pent up puppy so frequently.

I also feel guilty because my littles have given up a lot to come out on the road, and I couldn’t hold it together for them to keep that cute little monster. Halea was a wreck when Gus left. She refused to say goodbye to him, or to meet his new “mom”. We all grieve in our own way. 

Ultimately, it came down to loving Gus enough to let him have a life where he’s not in trouble all the time for barking, or chewing on the cabinets, or attacking the other dogs because he’s bored. I will probably feel sad for a while longer, but the gratitude for the woman that relieved our sweet, little burden overwhelms the sad feelings. 

I’m pretty good at rolling with things in life. I feel a prompting and I follow it, see where it goes. If I reach a point where doors are closing, I take that to mean that it’s not the right path. That’s not to say persevereance does not have a place in me, but I really try to stay close the The Lord, and listen to what His spirit tells me to do.

Hard Decision

It might sound oversimplified, but it’s really that simple. I learn and grow from each new experience and try to keep an Eternal perspective by asking, “What am I supposed to learn from this?” With each new learning experience, my Spirit grows stronger with emotional fortitude.

This experience was a different kind. It was me making a hard decision, admitting defeat, and dealing with the emotional toll of giving away a family member. 

The kids are already asking for another dog. The answer isn’t just no, it’s hell no.

That is not a hard decision. 

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this blog post, check out our latest entry, Room for One More?

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