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Conscious Un-puppy-ing

Written by Deb Burke

Well. It happened. Our beautiful, 3-year-old German Short Hair Pointer, Seamus, has got a criminal record. He’s known as a runaway, a flight risk.   Not just any normal canine runaway, but he is now a canine with a criminal record. He’s a bad-boy and all the local girl canines love him. How could they not? He’s cute, svelte, athletic, humorous and a total player.  He’ll break your heart.  The local boy canines hate him. They hate his happy-go-lucky attitude, especially his back yard-mate Lucky. Lucky is a sassy cross of Jack Russell Terrier and Beagle. They have a love hate relationship: they love to hate each other. Lucky and Seamus often tussle for the in-house Alpha Dog position.

Usually, the fight gets broken up by Penny, the live-in girl Labrador Retriever. She’s blonde, and kind of chubby, (like her Mama) no haters please!  Penny is a peace-keeper and she often distracts Seamus by nipping at his back paws and then running away, like a total flirt.

So, what the hell does Conscious Un-Puppy-ing mean? Well, it’s a play on Gwyneth Paltrow’s take on her own divorce.

You see, Seamus (our sweetest boy!) has to leave our family due to his “habits.”

Around Thanksgiving, Seamus learned how to “remove” a few wooden pickets from our 6 foot wooden fence in our back yard.  Seamus figured out that he can dig beneath the wooden pickets, leaving him just enough room to wiggle in his snout, anchor in some canine’s (insert pun here) and pull the boards off the anchoring board. This left about an 8 inch opening at the bottom of the fence, just enough for two curious canines to escape.

The most recent escape ended with Seamus and his backyard buddy, Lucky, being picked up by the local animal humane. Sadly, we were unable to bring both dogs home that night. Only Lucky came home.

Seamus, we were told, has the unsavory reputation of being “potentially dangerous” because he allegedly bit a neighbor’s dog. We don’t have proof. The animal humane officer couldn’t get proof because the neighbor (known to me as “Rock Star” for his bad hair and awful drumming), wouldn’t allow the animal humane officer to see the dog who was attacked. So, it’s all ALLEGED.

But.

Around here, the local Animal Humane has some clout, and what they say goes.

The thing that they don’t tell you is: how do you tell your kids that their dog has to leave his only home.  We’ve had Seamus since he was a puppy. He was found on a friend’s door step and she couldn’t keep him. She had two rambunctious Pugs to manage. My husband and I decided that this little puppy with a tail as long as his tiny body would be our youngest son’s birthday gift.  And what an adventurous gift it was! Seamus was a handful from the get go!

We loved him, we bought him expensive puppy food (which he barfed up), we walked him, and we tried to teach him fetch. We trained him to sit, shake a paw, and lay on his back to get belly rubs. He’s the sweetest dog (and giant bed hog). 

 But now, we can’t keep him. Seamus is on a rescue list, but, because of his “escapism addiction”, he’s probably not going to get re-homed.

My youngest understands why we have to get rid of him. Because our fence, even with the brand new pickets (two already destroyed by you know who) can’t contain him. The animal humane officer suggested my husband install an electric fence around the perimeter of our back yard. All I could envision is my children AND my dogs being electrocuted before my eyes. Seamus is unable to stay in our home because we won’t have furniture, shoes, tables, or toys left to our names.

So, now, I have to teach my sons’ how to “Consciously Un-Puppy” with Seamus. I can tell he knows the jig is up. He sneaks on my bed at night, nestled between my husband and me. He whimpers when we leave for our work days. He stands near us more when we are all in the yard playing with him. When you look in his eyes, you can tell his eyes plead with yours to not make this choice. We love him so, and losing him will hurt us all, my youngest son especially.

And I hate it.

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About the author

Deb Burke

I grew up in the picturesque town of Madison, Wisconsin. That’s the only normal thing about me. I also grew up in a family shoe repair business and soon learned that child labor laws don’t apply to family businesses. I left Madison to finish college in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here I became a spelunker, a cyclist, a mountain trail runner, an avid hot air balloon watcher (much to the dismay of the drivers behind me) and quite the connoisseur of green chili cheese burgers. Eventually, I fell in love, had 2 children, bought a house, and then got married (in that order). Life is certainly crazy keeping up with my two boys!

2 Comments

  • I’m so sorry! We had to make a decision last summer to get rid of a cat of ours who was very loved, but was being to get aggressive with our children, especially the youngest who 9 months old at the time. I knew it was the right decision but it tore my heart out.