October 13, 2004

The Big Move

Well, my dog ate three bites of his food last night, and several more this morning, so it looks like he's going to survive this latest hunger strike. You would think that would be a good thing, but in fact, it leaves the King and I in a bit of a quandry. Starving himself to death (or, alternatively, getting some painless but terminal illness) would solve our problem.

Here's the problem: In six months, we are leaving Virginia. Now, moving with a dog isn't normally a big deal, and I'd be happy to take him with us. However, we aren't moving just anywhere. We are moving to HAWAII!! Whoo hoo! The Navy is transferring us to paradise, and I am thanking the God I don't believe in every day for it. I cannot wait--I grew up in Southern California and living this far from the ocean has left me parched. We will be living in base housing on Pearl Harbor, and when we get there, I'm not going to get a regular job. I'm going to work freelance as an editor (which I now do full-time at a regular office), and hopefully, am going to get pregnant, in which case I won't be working at all for several months. I am totally, completely thrilled. DH and I thought we were quite possibly going to be transferred to Iceland, so Hawaii was very welcome news (although I've heard Iceland is actually quite a lovely place to live).

So that's our big news, and our big problem, with regard to the dog. The thing is, he's scared of everything. I'm fairly sure the two plane rides (here to CA, CA to Hawaii) would kill him. And even if they don't, there are some major logistical issues. We are taking a month off to visit the King's family and mine, and we will be driving across country to do so. Neither my parents nor the King's mother have the room or inclination to put up a large dog in their backyard for ten days, and he probably wouldn't enjoy driving across country, although we could probably force him to. Then, when we get to Hawaii, we will be living in a hotel while we wait to be assigned to base housing. We might only have to wait a few days, but it might be up to several months, during which time the dog will have to be in a kennel. We can't afford to keep him there more than a couple of weeks, and it's really hard on him (see the previous discussion about him starving himself to death to punish us for that).

So that's our quandary. Please don't say we're evil people for considering getting rid of our dog because it's inconvenient to move him--believe me, I torture myself with that all the time. He'd be dead if it weren't for us adopting him from a shelter, and we will only give him either to a neighbor who adores him, or a rescue group that never does euthanasia and will give him foster care until they can find him a good family. So, got any advice for what we should do with him?


Darbi said...

You know - it's almost as bad to say - but have you ever considered drugging your dog? You may have to send him to Canine NA for a few months - but keeping him doped up on some sedatives until you can get settled might not be a bad idea. Definitely talk to your vet, because I don't know what the long-term effects of Doggie-Valium are, but maybe he just needs a proverbial "chill pill". When I was still living at home with my husband I kept my overactive Pomeranians calm with (somewhat regular) doses of Children's liquid Benadryl. For someone as neurotic as your dog, this may be something to consider. Even if you are unable to keep your dog, it will probably be a good idea to give him at least a short run to get him over the "new home hump".

Barring medication - don't feel bad about giving your dog up. The most important thing is the dog's happiness. Do whatever you think is going to have the least negative effect on him. Don't think of it as giving him up or abandoning - think of it in terms of loving him enough to do the right thing.

Queenie said...

Thanks Darbi! We have sedated him a couple of times, at the 4th of July. He is stark terrified of fireworks, and nearly died of fright, literally, as a puppy when he heard them. We would definitely sedate him for travelling if we take him, which might solve a lot of our problems. But if we don't, I'll just have to convince myself exactly what you said--leaving him with a new family would be less traumatic then taking him with us, and he'd be happier for it.