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Sunday, 27 February 2011
Today, we said goodbye to our sweet and naughty Hooligan puppy.
He is still very alive and very well, just not with our family.
I never imagined myself in this position, giving up a dog.  
It was an embarrassing call to make, and a heart wrenching decision.
After all, I established the Canadian Brittany Rescue and spent several years taking in abandoned or relinquished Brittanys from people like us (and advocated since then for the right dog for your family being so critical)!

My own Briar was probably the worst of the worst in terms of being a horribly bad puppy~ never ever with ill intent, he was the kindest soul you'd ever be privileged to know~ and his puppyhood lasted 8 years.
So when Hooligan (a Briar nephew, same breeder) joined our family last summer, unexpectedly and on the heels of Briar's death (age 12), we thought we went into this with eyes wide open, knowing what we were up against.  But we didn't.  Briar's puppyhood happened when I was a single woman who trialled and ran agility and lots of other dog stuff.  Briar got to compete in hunt tests and I had 2-3 hours a day for exercising him.  Hooligan's puppyhood landed at a time in our lives when I am lucky to get a shower most days~ and with 6 solid months of winter, places to run are limited by space and weather.

And so we became one of those families, completely overwhelmed by our adolescent Brittany pup.  And Hooligan is aptly named. He is a much more physical, larger, hardheaded dog than Briar ever was.  He terrorized Archie the Sheltie to the point that they had to be kept apart most of the time. And he regularly sent Rowan flying with his affectionate leaps.
I have had to really think long and hard about balance and stress and so on this winter for both health and happiness. And it became clear that one of my greatest stressors has been not doing right by Hooligan and not being able to fit him in to family life, and it was only getting worse.

This is where I make my plug for dealing with professional and ethical breeders.  His breeder was my first call and she willingly agreed to take him back in hopes that a home with safe, fenced room to run and a more active family could be found~ until then he has her safe fenced acres and lots of buddies his own strength to run with.  We also, through discussions, agreed to a trade, but I'll write more about that under a new post! 

waiting for the school bus
So last night, we said goodbye to our sweet Hooligan ('sweet and tender' for you Smiths fans!) praying that letting him go to a new opportunity would give him a happier and more fulfilling life.  Rowan was very sad, but when her attempts to hug and kiss him goodbye resulted in a knock on the head and a scratch on the cheek, she also began to understand that 'her brother' needs something different than we can offer.

Today, I feel at peace about it.  Guilt is pointless, and the fact is, that no matter how much we loved him, Hooligan was not the right dog for our family at this time. Hanging on to him would have been selfish (and when my daughter sobbed in my arms last night I would have done almost anything to not cause that grief for her!), and asking for help is a good thing to do. Our house feels more peaceful, too.

And Hoolie?  At last report this evening he is in dog heaven!  He ran for 3 hours straight, wearing out all of the resident Brittanys and is getting on like a house on fire with his kin.  He was a dog's dog from day one and I think he is on the path he needed to find. 
 So farewell, my freckle faced boy. Grow strong and happy and find your true family. 
We'll always be grateful that you shared part of your journey with us. ♥


tinsenpup said...

You've done the right thing and given him the opportunity to find the place where he belongs.

Lori @ Beneath the Rowan Tree said...

thank you , I appreciate that :)

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