River was our fifth pet, our second dog. Lets face it, she never was a great fit with our lifestyle. River was very energetic and she needed real obedience/discipline. DH and I are pretty sedentary and we have no "stick to it" so to speak so real discipline did not happen. She can be so incredibly cute and sweet at sometimes! She loves to lay as close to you as possible (or on top of you), and despite our fears she was good with baby, very concerned if baby was OK. However, she also would chew up anything, she had some resource guarding issues, she would get restless in the evenings and want to play fight with our other dog in the middle of our small family room. She has such short hair that she has no tolerance for cold. The short version of this story then is that when we decided to move to Minnesota, we had to seriously consider what to do about River. There was three main problems - our general lack of control of her, her being unwelcome at our interim home of my parents house due both to her temperament and my mom's allergies, and finally the problem with her cold tolerance. We ended up deciding we couldn't keep her and if at all possible it would be better for her to be left in Ohio where the weather is not so extreme. We found a rescue for her to go to, but at the last minute my aunt and cousin decided to take her in. We are simultaneously very relieved and happy to have her in a good home, and very guilty feeling because (1) we feel like we "dumped" her on my cousin, who has taken in many dogs that her friends/family have made poor decisions in adopting and (2) we failed to live up to our own standards of pet ownership.
And that is what this post is really about, the fact that I feel like a complete hypocrite. I think I have always been sort of a hypocrite when it comes to pet care, but this takes the cake. I have always believed that when you take on a pet they are not just a possession or a luxury, but a living creature you are responsible for and cannot just decide to get rid of because it would be convenient. I generally dislike the idea of getting rid of a pet for any reason besides their own best interest. This is why when I talk about our decision to re-home River I tend to emphasize the weather, but in all honesty the pure convenience had just as much to do with it. The fact is, I am a hypocrite and need to deal with that and probably will feel guilty for the next ten years about giving up River. That, and as nice as it is to not deal with her bad behavior, I really do miss her cuteness.