OK, everyone…cry with me

Since the day we welcomed him into our home, Pete has been both a challenge and a loving little dog. He came with his own set of baggage — quite a few suitcases really. We weren’t quite prepared for such a nervous dog. He didn’t exhibit that nervousness during our visits to the shelter. But he’d lived there for nine months until we chose him. He didn’t know about houses, about faucets, stoves, refrigerators, doors, doorbells, tall men…any of it.

So he cowered and jumped and scampered away. But every day he made tiny little steps toward becoming stronger and more confident.

Unfortunately, there are some things Pete hasn’t been able to overcome. At only 37 pounds, he has repeatedly taken on rottweilers, labs, and assorted other large dogs with a viciousness that can be surprising. At first it was just a select few dogs he would tussle with. As time has gone on, though, he’s stopped discriminating and basically decided any dog bigger than him is a foe.

This in itself is manageable. Although it means no more dog park and his own special small-dog play group at doggie daycare (don’t go rolling your eyes…just every six weeks or so to give them a treat). It also means that Juliette, Ms. Social and Lovey, has been deprived of her friendships. But we were willing to deal with this.

The problem is that Pete’s reactionary attitude isn’t very compatible with a baby. We had our fingers crossed. Really hard. We knew Devin would make him nervous. We knew he’d be off-kilter a bit. But as I was eating an apple the other day, Pete made the mistake of snapping at my baby. Devin was several feet away at the time, out of harm’s way. Still, the fact that my dear dog would go to such lengths for a Granny Smith was not a good sign.

I called our trainer, a woman who knows both of my dogs very well, and explained the situation to her. She was wary of Pete’s abilities to deal with a child already, so this really cemented her opinion. Her advice is that we find him a new home.

I knew this, of course. And I’ve been crying for over a week about it. We’ve had Pete for 14 months. We really wanted to honor our commitment to him. I’m completely heartbroken. Although he’s been difficult, I love him. He makes me laugh when he buries his head under my arm, or when he bounces across the park like a deer, or when he rests his head on the back of the couch to watch the world outside. I’m so sad to say goodbye to him. I feel very much like I’m letting him down, but how can I keep him? How can I take that chance?

I’m going to go cry some more.