My heart is so heavy. I have been avoiding writing this piece but I need to share it now. My beloved dog, Maverick, is no longer living with us. We’ve had to re-home him. A decision that was agonizing and horrible but was decided firmly, in an instant. You see, he bit Bean Sprout. Not a snap. A bite. On his face and head. He broke the skin. Luckily, though a bite, it was done deliberately with care and restraint. Mostly marking him up and only lightly breaking the skin in two places. There will be no lasting damage to my child. Praise to all the gods for that. But I cannot risk the next time us not being so lucky. There is just too much at stake.
I do not blame Mav for that. We knew he wasn’t adjusting well to having a baby in the house ever since Bean Sprout became mobile. We had been working very hard to correct his territorial behavior and get him to move away to his bed whenever he felt threatened. Unfortunately, we had made only slight progress. This kills me as I have always been incredibly capable at dog training and had a fabulous dog/handler relationship with my boy! He knew 45 commands. He did agility, flyball, and advanced obedience! He’s such a smart dog!!! But he just couldn’t get it into his head that the kid was higher up than him.
I would say 90% of the time he tolerated the toddler in his space. But 10% of the time he didnt… and it wasn’t like he was being bullied, or hit, or jumped on… the 10% of the time the issue was just Bean Sprout being too close to him for his liking. This is not a dog that enjoys small children. There is no amount of training that would have changed that. Best case scenario he would have spent his golden years (he’s 8.5) cooped up on his bed away from all the fun.
That is no quality of life for this fabulous dog!
He is used to frolicking with me on the beach. Of running agility drills until his old feet give out. Of languid days in the sunlight getting belly rubs. Waiting just off the mat while we weight train. Coming downtown for coffee on a patio with friends.
For him this life with kids is no life at all.
And so I knew, as much as it kills me, his best place is no longer with us. Even through the guilt, I rescued him from the SPCA in Houston TX at 3 how could I give him away like his last owners, I knew I had to do it. Because I love that dog. More than I love my own selfish need for him.
It’s been a week and I miss him every, single day. Bean Sprout misses him too, which makes it even harder. He asks about him every day, sniffing his dog sound and looking around the house for him. Today there was a gaggle of magpies in our snowy yard, a sight Maverick would never have allowed, and Bean Sprout took off shrieking for the dog, hoping against hope that the presence of the birds would make him materialize to chase them. Now when he sniffs for the dog he does so while shaking his head no… because that’s what we always say ” No, no dog. Maverick went bye bye.” I try to say it cheerfully, because I don’t want him to be sad or worried. I usually cry over it later.
It’s a small condolence that Mav went to someone I know and trust. I have been sent a few pictures showing that he is doing well. But it’s not the same. He has gone to the gorgeous Okanagan in BC, a spot where nearly everyone in Western Canada hopes to retire, and is living the good life again. But my home is too quiet, and too clean, and I miss the smell of his stale bread and warm honey feet. I gave away everything with him and so I have nothing to sniff or hug when the hurt overwhelms me. And so I cry on the sofa. Alone. I never felt alone with him around. He was my constant companion.
Good bye to my sweet, Good-Boy, Maverick. You were the best part of the last 5 years. I am so sorry that we couldn’t do better by you. I am sorry that the baby shook things up to the point where you were suffering. I want you to know how wonderful you are. How much you enriched our lives and made us smile. Your funny countenance is not easily forgotten, and I will remember you forever. Thank you for being the very best dog in the whole world. No matter where you go in life know that I think of you often and pray you love your new surroundings as much as you loved starting over with us. You deserve the very best, I hope you’re getting it now. I love you. Always.
Your Best Friend Kaeleigh (The Chicken)