It's been a while since I have written anything in the Pet Visa Saga. It has definitely been a whirlwind, to say the least. The dogs have had their ups and downs throughout our travels (we are currently vagabonds while we wait for our Visa to get approved). The first week the dogs went on a hunger strike, and we had to bribe them with bacon to eat their food. Also, Whiskey (the big one) decided to ramp up his social anxiety, and we had to literally drag him outside of the hotel rooms to get him to pee. If there was any person around, we had to walk him to some private spot to get him to do his business (it was super fun in Vegas when it was 103F +, and yes I know I need to learn the metric system).
There were some ups, though, too. Whiskey absolutely fell in love with my sisters-in-law's 8-month-old Australian Shepard puppy. He was Whiskey's shadow, and Whiskey was legitimately sad for a few days when we had to leave him. Pendelton, of course, could not be bothered and was a total turd to the pup. So far through the months of being on the road and numerous domiciles (big word yeah), the dogs have seemed to mellow out and become less messes. I was completely shocked when we arrived at my dad's house, and Pendelton (the little one) fell in love with their dog. She basically is a plumper, female version of him, and they have been as thick as thieves, which brings me to the point I have been avoiding.
I don't think I have the emotional bandwidth to write it out again, so I will post my Facebook question.
"I need help with a very difficult decision. I love my Pendleton, he's 7, and I've had him since he was 3 weeks old. While at my dad's, he has become obsessed with their girl dog...and he hates all dogs. My dad wants Pendleton, as their dog seems to love having him around too. Here's my dilemma. If we take Pendleton to Spain, he will be around lots of people and dogs, which he hates. He's not a fan of our dog Whiskey or Jackson... He tolerates them. We will be traveling, so he will either have to go with us, which he has not been doing well with until now or be boarded, which is definitely a no. He really is an old man dog and would get lots of love and attention without any stress if we let my dad keep him, but I don't want Pendelton to be super sad if we leave him. Before Jackson was born, he got all the attention and has definitely been attention neglected once Jackson came, and I think he is jealous of the attention he gets...I want him to come, but I also don't want to be selfish if he will be happier here. I keep going back and forth, so any helpful feedback would be appreciated; please be nice."
I decided to include the responses that people had so you maybe get why this helped me decide.
"I’m sorry you have to even decide, but that being said, it sounds like a win/win for the dog and your dad.
"It sounds like he would be happy and have a playmate. Taking him with you may be super stressful. I ended up with one of my dogs because of a similar situation. He’s still is with us and is well-loved.
"I think you answered your own question with all the pros and cons. When I first came to California (my first visit), my black lab stayed with my mom back in Indiana, and I was so worried about him. He was my baby and had been with me through 3 different states and many emotional nights. But, he was spoiled rotten and enjoyed while I was gone. When I came home, he recognized me, and it was great, but he enjoyed the calm life that he fell into and would sleep in the living room some night, so he got both worlds. But, you should think of what would make him happiest. He sounds like a dog who is more comfortable with calm rather than active crazy, which is what kids and sometimes other dogs can bring."
"I think being calm with his new ladyfriend sounds like his ideal lifestyle. Of course, you would miss him, but I think he would be very happy there."
Reading your post, it seems like you already know the best choice.
****Special note these are all people who either know me personally or know Pendelton and me.
I never in my life would have thought that I would even consider giving Pendelton away, but I have never seen him this happy. I mean, he literally grooms her and snuggles her, and they play all day. My dad sad he even noticed that their dog is much calmer and happier. After I posted this question, I got a lot of support, and everyone said that he would ultimately be happier in this environment. As I am writing this, I am crying and have been every time I think about it. This f***ing feels terrible. As a parent so far, I have learned that what we want or what will make us happy is not what is always in the best interest of the ones we love.
Many people may not agree with this, and I am sure I will be a mess for a while, but we weighed everything and took my feelings out of it and decided to let Pendelton stay with my dad. Step-mom, and their pup. Johnny can be very practical and understands this is the best thing, and because Pendelton does not like Jackson, they never developed a connection so that it won't make a difference to Jackson. Whiskey and he have never bonded either. So it's up to me to suck it up and put on my grown-up pants and let him go. He will have the companionship, the attention, and did I mention the big backyard and pool, and all that he loves he needs.
Again, I never considered this in the past (my dad has been asking to have Pendelton for a while) until I saw him interact with their dog. He hasn't stopped smiling since he has been here and acts like he has lived here his whole life, and at the end of the day, that's what matters, not me forcing him into uncomfortable situations because of my feelings. Although I totally see animals as part of the family, he is still a dog and will do better with this transition than I probably will. And I have heard the argument 1000 times would you get rid of your child, and the answer is no, of course not. The reality is that even children outgrow their parents and go on to bigger and better things that will give them the quality of life to make them happy. Luckily for me, his perfect home is still within the family, so I will keep up to date with him and make sure he is doing well.
We have thought of every aspect, so please understand this decision was not made lightly. Pendelton is a dog that is very stuck in his ways, no matter how you cajole, train, etc. We have had Whiskey for 4 years, and he still bites at him, and Jackson is 3, and Pendelton still growls when he comes near him. We want to have another child and can only imagine how one more person's attention hog will affect Pendelton. He has been there for me since he was 3 weeks old. He has helped me grieve through deaths, depression, and everything in between, and I honestly feel it's my turn to be there for him.
If you are not a pet person, this will sound super dramatic and crazy, and you don't need to understand it. It's ok if this story isn't meant for you; I hope it helps someone in a similar situation or maybe just reminds me of why I am doing this when I start to lose it. I tried to find any articles that really explored this without a lot of negativity, and I couldn't find anything, so hopefully, this helps others decide what's best for their pet and their situation.
I opened up my world to you all, and that includes the not-so-great parts sometimes, which I know comes with disapproval from others. Please save any of your negativity because I have beat myself up more than you can know. If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything because I literally can't handle it and will have to delete them.
I'm too sad right now to add funny, and honestly don't feel like finding sad pictures or even really formatting this, so sorry for this, whatever it is. I think it's to help convince myself more than anything. We are gearing up to leave, so I will go over all the ins and outs of getting Whiskey to Spain and will likely have some useful info and tips.