Josie (2017)

It’s breaking my heart, but I decided I needed to find a new home for Josie.

I adopted Josie last spring from the Humane Society in Grand Rapids. I knew the minute we met that I wanted to bring her home, so I did. And I fell in love.

She is sweet, funny, playful, and affectionate. She doesn’t chew things she’s not supposed to. She doesn’t bark. She doesn’t poop in the house. She curls up next to me on the couch. She loves car rides and chewies and sticks.

Josie is 99% perfect, but she simply can’t be around other dogs.

I’d never met a dog that just never figured out how to get along with other dogs, so I just assumed I’d figure things out. It’s not that I didn’t work at it. I worked at it. I spent thousands of dollars on training and consulting. I brought her to “finishing” school, where she did pretty well in groups. This was encouraging, but whenever she was one on one with another dog she just couldn’t control herself. And even with all the training, I had trouble controlling her.

I don’t give up easily on dogs. I’ve had dogs that needed to be carried around in order to pee or get up stairs. I had dogs needing multiple surgeries and long, expensive, recovery periods. I’ve had dogs that couldn’t control their bladders and would just pee everywhere all the time. I never once considered getting rid of them.

My life involves dogs. Everyone I know has dogs. My girlfriend has two small dogs. None of us can ever be in the same place when Josie is with me. I worry that someone’s dog is going to get hurt. After nearly a year of working at it, I didn’t know what I could do to resolve all this.

So, a couple weeks ago I contacted one of Josie’s trainers and asked for advice. It turns out that his sister had recently lost a dog, lived alone with no other pets, and was interested in meeting her. She took Josie home for a week to see how they got along. She (of course) fell in love immediately and expressed an interest in keeping Josie. I said yes.

I’m told by people who know this woman that Josie will be well cared for and probably spoiled a little. I’m ok with that.

Part of the reason I’m writing this is to convince myself that I shouldn’t hate myself for failing her. Adopting a dog isn’t something to be taken lightly with just an easy “never mind” if things get inconvenient. I hope that’s not what I’ve done. I don’t think I gave up too easily. I think I’ve done the right thing, but damn it hurts.

Josie will be fine. Considering the easy access she’ll have to professional dog people, I expect her to be happy and to thrive.

Still, I miss her terribly.